In his new book, Ask Arthur Frommer (subtitle: & travel better, cheaper, smarter) Frommer asserts that Danish airfare search engine Momondo may very well be the best source for finding cheap airfares. His exact words:
After testing the wares of the top American firms (Kayak, SideStep, FareChase, and others), I recently concluded that the European website knon as Mobissimo was more likely to do the best job.
But that was before I ran tests on a Danish service called Momondo (www.momondo.com). It claims to search more than 500 airfare sources (upstart airlines, budget airlines, big and little airlines, other airfare websites, consolidators, and aggregators), which is two or three times the number scanned by most of its competitors.
(He conducts tests on a series of popular routes.) …I won’t bore you with every pricing detail, but suffice to say, the little Danish-based Momondo was the clear winner every single time, finding fares that were 20% to 40% less.
One of the shortcomings of most of the popular airfare search engines (Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia) is that they don’t list results for all the cost-cutting, budget airlines like Spirit Airlines and Southwest. Kayak, SideStep and FareChase (Yahoo Travel) do a better job as their business model differs significantly from the aforementioned search engines, enabling them to work with the budget airlines.
But none seem to match Momondo, which as of this past weekend, claimed to search 682 airfare providers to deliver the very best fares. As the quote from Ask Arthur Frommer says, Frommer didn’t include the specific details of his tests. I took a few minutes to check Momondo versus several popular airfare search engines. The routes represent a variety of itineraries: Syracuse, NY – San Antonio; Los Angeles – Albany, NY; Baltimore – Portland, OR; NYC (LaGuardia) – Rome, Italy; Baltimore – Albany; and NYC (JFK) to Los Angeles. All quotes are for a round trip initiating on 9/1/09 with the return on 9/9/09; in each case, all fees and taxes are included to keep the comparisons accurate. Here are the results:
The lowest fare in each case is highlighted. As you can see, Momondo offered or tied for the lowest fare in 4 of the 6 itineraries. For the Syracuse to San Antonio trip, its fare was a full 12% lower. I didn’t see the “20% to 40%” lower fares Frommer mentions, but that could have been the result of the itineraries he used.
One other neat feature at the site is the Momondo Price Calendar, which enables you to see different fares were you to change your departure and/or return dates (fares can vary dramatically if your travel dates are flexible):
As for Mobissimo, Frommer suggests that it’s particularly useful for international fares. I did check it for the LGA-FCO (Rome) trip, and it returned quotes that were slightly higher than the lowest fares shown above for that itinerary. I’ll have to run some additional tests to gauge its value. If you’re a frequent international traveler, it’s likely worth a look.
I’ll review Frommer’s book in a future post; if you’d like to check it out for yourself, click on the following link:
If you’ve used Momondo or other aggregators and would like to comment, please do so!
The Fine Print: I am an Amazon affiliate; this post contains affiliate links which help support Practical Hacks
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