In the endless quest for cheaper airfares, the right selection of apps can definitely help. Here are some of our favourites for finding better fares from Australia.
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An app on its own won't be the only tool you'll need when researching fares. Our general tips for finding cheaper flights still apply, and you're likely to switch between apps and your browser to make sure you've scored the best deal. However, in a mobile context, an app is often more friendly than a data-laden travel web site.
These apps fall into two chief categories: search engines that scan multiple airlines to find flights for specific routes, and airline apps that help you identify specials. Search engines are great if you just want the lowest price (though keep an eye out for added fees and charges, and double-check on the airline site itself); airline apps are handy if you like sticking with one carrier to maximise your points. All the apps listed here are free to download.
Fare Search Apps
Skyscanner consolidates search results from multiple airlines and discount sites, so your chances of finding discounted fares are good. It also links you directly to the booking service. Definitely useful if your main priority is finding the cheapest option.
Expedia scans a wide range of flights and lets you sort them by price, as well as booking directly from within the app. (The app also offers hotel deals, and arguably has better specials there than with flights.)
Rome2Rio doesn't identify fares, but it will tell you all the ways of getting between two places, including airline routes, trains, coaches and boats. This is useful information if you're travelling to an unfamiliar areas, as airline searches won't always identify nearby airports that might be cheaper, or other options.
Airline Special Apps
Qantas' official apps shows current specials from your home city, lets you set up alerts whenever there's a sale, and can notify you whenever the fare on a given route falls below a given price. Download: Android, iOS
The Virgin domestic app highlights active specials, allows you to set up alerts for specials between specific destinations, and allows you to receive alerts for fares below a set price. (In other words, essentially identical functionality to what Qantas offers — this is a competitive market.) Download: Android, iOS
Know of another app we should add to this list? Tell us in the comments. (Remember, we're talking cheap fares here, not other discount travel options such as hotels or car hire.)
Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman rarely met a cheap fare he didn't like. His Road Worrier column, looking at technology and organising tips for travellers, appears each week on Lifehacker.