The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Lowest Airfare

Did you know that most of the information on the Internet about cheap airfare may be misleading? Such information is inaccurate because online travel agencies and airfare websites are good at marketing their products, showing us only what we want to see – the “so-called” lowest airfare.

Until now, we have been comparing airline fares using the base rate, which does not take into account the luggage fees.

“The airfare can increase significantly (up to 200%) when the baggage fee is included.”

It also means that sometimes we are made to believe that certain airlines and particular airfare websites offer the best rate; when in reality, they do not.

I have written this blog entry to answer your burning question: Is there any website that displays the total price of an airfare including the baggage fees?

Luckily, such a website exists, and it can regularly extract the lowest airfares on particular routes. Accordingly, you can calculate the baggage fee and get the lowest airfare on local and international routes.

I will try to answer the following questions in this article:

• How baggage price can significantly change the total price of an airfare?

• Two websites that actually allow you to compare airline prices inclusive of baggage fee.

• Why Kayak Flights is the only website that can accurately display the total airfare inclusive of baggage fee on local and international routes


How do Kayak Flights compare with Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Expedia when it comes to finding the lowest airfare on a particular air route?

• How to use Kayak in combination with Google Flights, if required.

How baggage price can significantly change the total price of an airfare?

Here is an example showing how airfare can change when you add the baggage fee:

Let’s assume that we want to get a round-trip ticket from New York to Orlando. Look at the following screenshot of airfare from New York to Orlando, presented by Google Flights. It displays the lowest non-stop airfares offered by five different airlines on this popular route.

This image shows the price difference in airfare from New York to Orlando.

According to this table, Spirit Airlines and Jet Blue offer the lowest round-trip airfare. In contrast, Delta and American Airlines are much expansive.  It also shows that Frontier Airlines is the only airline that offers a good price if you want to fly non-stop in the morning.

However, as I said, such comparisons can be very misleading because travelers usually don’t go on a flight without their bags.

The following figure shows the total price of the airfare once the price of carrying one carry-on bag and one checked bag is included in the base rate:

This image shows the price difference in airfare between New York and Orlando including luggage.

From a consumer’s perspective, the actual price of the airfare is a lot different than the base fair displayed on almost every travel website.

In fact, the actual airfare has increased by almost 100% in this example. It also explains why you should be careful when comparing airfare.

Which are the two popular websites that allow you to include the baggage fee?

Recently, Kayak Flights and Google Flights have started offering the option to display airfare with the baggage fees. Since the price difference between the base fare and the actual price can be significant, I hope that other websites will also follow suit.

Personally, I prefer Kayak Flights due to better features. Following is an overview of each platform:

Google Flights

Google Flight incorporates a very user-friendly interface, which allows travelers to calculate the price of a carry-on bag and a maximum of one checked bag. After selecting your options, the interface will automatically recalculate prices based on the luggage options selected. I also like how it displays a baggage icon next to the price indicating that the airline does not allow you to take a carry-on bag inside the cabin.

Google Flights portal displaying an option to calculate the baggage.

Despite the great interface of Google Flights, it has certain drawbacks compared to Kayak Flights. For instance, the checked bag option is not included in the international segment of the flights. In the following example, New York to Costa Rica, there is no option to calculate the checked bag.

As most of us always take at least one checked bag with us on international flights, there is a lot more to be desired. As shown, you can only calculate the price of one carry-on bag, not checked-bag.

Google Flights portal displaying an option to calculate the baggage on international route.

Kayak Flights

Kayak is the only platform I know, which allows travelers to calculate baggage price on the international segment as well as the price of a maximum of two checked bags. Following is a snapshot of the Kayak portal. I have indicated the baggage column with an arrow on top-left.

Kayak Flights portal displaying the option to calculate the baggage fee.

You can also get additional information about the baggage from the baggage icon on top of the base airfare. Clicking on these bags will reveal price breakdown, as shown in the following picture.

You can also get additional information about the baggage from the baggage icon on top of the base airfare. Clicking on these bags will reveal price breakdown, as shown in the following picture.

Similarly, the following image illustrates the baggage price when one carry-on and two checked baggage are used to calculate the price. Remember, Google Flights only allows calculations for up to one carry-on and one checked baggage.

As discussed, the Kayak platform also allows travelers to get a baggage estimate on international segments. The following image reflects the price of round-trip tickets from New York to Costa Rica when one carry-on bag and one checked-bag are included.

When it comes to calculating baggage, Kayak provides better functions compared to Google flights because:

• It can calculate baggage for international flights.

• It can calculate up to two checked bags compared to only one checked bag on Google Flights.

In fact, there are plenty of reasons why Kayak is my only “go-to” tool for airfare. I have discussed these findings in the next section when comparing Kayak Flights with Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Expedia.

Why Kayak Trumps All Other Airfare Websites on the Internet?

Comparing Apples to Apples

The increasing amount of information on the Internet has made us smarter. We all have our favorite travel website that we think is superior to others. Therefore, it seems awkward for me to claim that Kayak Flight is the best, particularly when websites such as Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Momondo have gained massive interest from travel experts.

I must also confess that Kayak was never a website that intrigued me – until now.

There are two main reasons for my recent infatuation with Kayak Flight: First, Kayak has undergone tremendous positive developments in the last year, which have gone unnoticed by the mainstream media. Secondly, as I said, our minds are fine-tuned to see and observe only what is displayed to us.

Consumers have become smarter, but they don’t have the time to sift through massive information. It’s where I think my research can provide important insight, without the marketing flair. To prove my point, why I think Kayak Flights trumps all other airfare websites, I am going to show:

• How does Kayak Flight compare to other popular websites when it comes to finding the cheapest airfare? • Why Kayak gives you the most powerful price comparison interface to get the lowest airfare – A Comparison with Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Expedia.

Kayak’s Ability to Find the Cheapest Airfare

If Kayak was only good at offering the ability to calculate baggage price, it would barely make much sense to use it. For me, Kayak Flights is super-powerful because it also offers the ability to get the lowest airfare on a particular air route. As a result, I am able to use the website as a “stand-alone” platform to get the best airfare.

Selecting Websites for Comparison

Before explaining how Kayak Flight compares to other popular websites, it is pertinent to describe why I selected Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Expedia for the comparison. The purpose of selecting these particular websites is based on their perception as the leaders in their distinctive roles.

For instance, Google Flights is long known to be the powerful flight booking engine backed by Google. In contrast, Skyscanner is selected because of its reputation as an upcoming meta-search engine that is able to offer extremely low airfares. Similarly, Expedia is selected on the basis of its popularity as the leading airfare travel agency in the world.

Regarding the status of some of these portals, this report can also serve as a guideline.

Can Kayak offer the lowest fare?

To compare how effective is Kayak in offering a great airfare, I selected to compare it across the busiest airline routes around the globe.

You can view the results in this Google doc. Please note that these results are without the baggage fee, which allows us to compare airfare easily.

The price comparison table reveals the following facts:

  • Results are relevant to my experience, which reveal that you will not find any major differences in the lowest airfare when using Google Flights or Skyscanner. In contrast, prices on Expedia will be higher because Expedia works on a travel agency model charging its customer for its services.
  • There is almost no difference in the airfare between Skyscanner, Google Flights, and Skyscanner on air routes in the United States and Europe. Prices on Expedia are slightly higher due to travel agency fees.
  • Any major price difference on the international segment of these portals can be explained by the lower ticketing class where baggage is not allowed or limited and additional restrictions apply.

Why I Prefer Kayak Flights?

Although Kayak can almost always match the lowest airfare on the other websites, there are still particular reasons why I prefer Kayak over Google Fights, Skyscanner, Expedia, and others.

Powered by Google ITA Matrix, I prefer Kayak Flights because it provides the final cost of the ticket without splitting the fare into two different segments like Google Flights and Expedia. The price display on Google Flights can be confusing because travelers are only shown price itinerary for one-leg of the route at any given time. Here is an example: Following is a screenshot of price from New York to Montreal on United Air. To an average visitor, the price of a non-stop airfare on United Airlines is $198 round-trip. Once you select the departing segment, Google Flight will give you the option to select the arrival segment. As you may see on the other image, the actual price is $220 instead of $198.

Following is an overview of the final price:

Similarly, you can only calculate the price for a single carry-on baggage price on Google Flights for international flight segments. This is a huge disadvantage for the customer who would have at least one checked bag with them on international travel. In comparison, Kayak offers you to calculate fees for one carry-on and two checked bags on both local and international flights.

As for Skyscanner and Expedia, they do not allow you to integrate the prices of the baggage.

I will stop here and allow you to evaluate Kayak Flight yourself to check if it suits your traveling style. If you like this article, please do not forget to share your experiences and tips that will help this blog more useful for everyone.

Before I let you go, please bear in mind that some of the links in this article are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. I try my best to remain unbiased and do a lot of research before recommending a product. However, the decision is yours whether you want to visit these websites using the links provided on this page. Thanks for reading …

2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Lowest Airfare”

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