When Hipmunk released its airfare-focused "agony index" a few years back, it was the talk of the town here at T+L—frankly, we’re still pretty obsessed. But these days, a number of services are trying to one-up the flight search pioneer with what’s now being dubbed "intelligent searching," where users can pick and choose itineraries based on far more than just price and schedule.
Rising to the top of the pack is Momondo. The company recently launched a new Flight Insight tool, which makes the search process as transparent as it gets. By aggregating data that the company has collected since its inauguration in 2006, Flight Insight offers a tremendous amount of information on all the factors that can affect the price of your flight, from seasonality to airport combos. Plug in your desired itinerary, and the tool will help you find the best airlines, days of the week, or times of the day to search for if you’re hoping to snag a bargain. Interestingly, Momondo suggests that you’re almost always best off booking a flight 60 days ahead of your departure.
Once you’ve narrowed down the parameters of your search, it’s worth giving newcomer RouteHappy a shot. Simply input your dates and route, and the service breaks down your options by various convenience factors—Wi-Fi availability, roomier seats, in-flight entertainment options, and more. (SeatGuru has a similar, also noteworthy, tool that focuses on the comfort of individual seats—perfect for travelers like my long-legged, 6’3” husband.)
And don’t forget about Hipmunk, either. Their now-established hotel tool applies the "agony index" model to booking a room—the perfect compliment to whichever airfare engine you end up choosing.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.