Why do I always book flights with Kiwi.com? Because they are cheaper. Hands down, in all my years of travel I have never found such good deals as I do with Kiwi. This isn’t a sponsored post from them – it’s just that I am really like them and want to pass these tips along for how to book cheap flights like I do!
Before I tell you how to book with Kiwi.com and use their cool booking tools, which help you find cheaper deals, I want to just share an example from my recent trip to Bali. I had to fly Goa to Bali and looked first at Kiwi.com, where I was sure I’d find the best deal. For the sake of this blog post I searched the same dates on Cleartrip, Cheapoair, Kayak, and Skyscanner to confirm and show you the proof.
I also used their “Kiwi Gauruntee” when a flight was cancelled, and it worked perfectly without any hassle.
How to Book Cheap Flights with Kiwi.com
In case you’re wondering if they really are cheaper, here’s a case study for Bali to Goa.
As you go to book your dates, it shows you a calendar with prices already populated. I’m nearly always flexible with my schedule and it’s one of the best ways to save money.
So, looking at the dates I set on the 22nd Feb and returning on the 12th of March (little more expensive but wanted that extra weekend). The price that came up with 29,645 Rs ($443 USD) which is a great price and I know I could have gotten it even cheaper on Kiwi another day.
I took these dates and I searched them on other websites that I used to book with. The first is Cleartrip which was always known as the best in Asia (in particularly India).
Cleartrip Price: $677 USD
Kayak price: $656 USD
Cheapoair price: $687 USD
Lastly, I checked Skyscanner.
Skyscanner is usually really good and used to be the website that I used a lot to book. They actually forward you along to other booking sites, though. Funnily enough, it was a flight I searched on Skyscanner that forwarded me to Kiwi in the first place.
Skyscanner price: $724
So overall when it comes to booking this flight to Bali from Goa, Kiwi came up over $200 cheaper than all the other search engine booking sites I checked.
It’s pretty crazy in terms of a discount, so I’ll explain WHY it is Kiwi offers such cheap flights.
Basically, they search all the airlines whether it’s budget ones or popular huge airlines. They then combine them based on the cheapest route, NOT based on who has code shares together (which is what most airlines search).
When you read articles about how people “flight hack” by searching out smaller routes within their route to make the total route cheaper, in the end, THIS is that except Kiwi is doing that for you.
That means you won’t be checked all the way through sometimes but will have to re-check your luggage. Don’t worry though they offer a guarantee that if you miss a connection, they’ll put you on the next flight out for free (more about that later).
Unique search features Kiwi.com offers
So, the first one is the Anywhere function which isn’t the most unique since a number of flight search engines now offer this.
I searched from Columbus just out of curiosity (It’s my hometown USA airport). I was pretty shocked to see you can fly to Savannah or New Orleans for just $100 round trip.
Next, I wanted to show you how I would search an international flight like the one I do each year from Ohio to India.
When I fly this route it took so much searching in the past because I had to search Cleveland to Mumbai, Cleveland to Delhi, Columbus to Mumbai, and Columbus to Delhi on multiple flight search engines. That took forever!
Now, I can just search Ohio to India or Columbus to India, etc. So, I did a practice search of Columbus to India.
Using the anywhere function, I did two more blog posts to show you:
- How to travel around India for $200 to all the top tourist cities
- Fly around 9 cities in 7 countries in Europe for $355 using these tips for Europe
Search by Region or Country
It shows me that Mumbai is going to be my cheapest port of entry into India. So, if I click on Mumbai, I can then see the routes and airlines it wants me to take which is United going there and Turkish coming back (I love Turkish Airlines).
It’s also a 23-hour journey one way and 25 going back which is really good for this route. I’ve done 40 before. I did searches on United and Turkish Airlines to see what it would cost to book directly through them,
I did searches on United and Turkish Airlines to see what it would cost to book directly through them, which came up just a tad higher. The thing is had you not known that United and Turkish were going to give you the best route you wouldn’t know to search their sites.
Search Using Radius
You can draw a radius around the area you want to go if you are flexible. This is great if you want to backpack Europe and don’t care where you start or if you want to spend a week in Southeast Asia. You can draw a radius around your departure too if you are flying from say, Europe, to SE Asia and don’t mind the order you go in or know you can take a train to a cheaper airport.
I searched from Ohio (which a radius for all the airports) to Southeast Asia.
You can see that it’s pretty much the same rate if you fly to Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, but Hanoi Vietnam is about $100 more.
Search with Anytime & Date Range
Not only can you search anywhere to see the best results, but with kiwi.com you can search anytime.
Let’s say I wanted to go to Sri Lanka from Goa this Spring but didn’t care when; only that it was the cheapest time. I would use the Anytime tool. But to make it even cooler, I can then use the “time of stay” to select that I want to be there anywhere from 6-10 days depending on the cheapest flights.
You can also put in date ranges like “I’d like to go to Sri Lanka some time between March 5-10 and stay there for 6 days”, which can really help you simplify your search.
I tried that using New York as a city to fly Anywhere, Anytime. Turns out you NYC folks can go to Myrtle Beach round trip for $83. That’s probably less than you would spend a night out on the town, so escape the winter and fly down for the weekend!
When people talk about how expensive it is to travel, they’re right in many ways but often they don’t know about these amazing tools to use to help you fly cheaper.
Using the tools I’ve outlined above will help you book cheap flights through Kiwi every time. I hope (fingers crossed) that they don’t change and their rates stay the same.
The Kiwi.com Guarantee
Remember how I mentioned that one of the ways they find cheap flights are searching the exact cheapest flight for each leg of the journey, regardless of if those airlines are in a code share (aka when airlines partner up to fly places onward that they don’t fly themselves).
When you fly in a code share they usually check your luggage all the way through for you and give you your boarding passes for the whole journey.
When you book with Kiwi, they are not always code-share so you’ll see between each leg if you need to get your bags. They say it clearly on the ticket if you do need to pick up your luggage and recheck it in.
“Recheck your checked baggage – Please note that you will need to collect and recheck your baggage between all flights. This is because you will be travelling with different airlines or on different routes with the same airline.”
So, that might make you worry that you won’t have enough time to do so. When you are code share and you miss a flight because the previous flight was delayed, they will put you on the next flight out.
Kiwi offers the same promise. With their Kiwi Guarantee, they promise that if you miss a flight because there was not enough connection time due to a delay, cancellation, or rescheduling and there wasn’t enough time, they will book you on the earliest flight out for FREE. If that means you have to stay overnight at an airport, they will pay for it under 50 Euros. They’ll also give you $10 to eat if your flight is delayed more than 4 hours.
That means, if you “travel hack” to find these deals alone, this is no company helping you with a guarantee. if you miss a flight, that’s on YOU and you alone – and you’ll have to book another. Let Kiwi find them for you.
If it’s a delay before you take off, you are meant to get ahold of them and let them know so you can sort something out. But, sometimes there isn’t time to call.
“In exceptional cases when your flight(s) is cancelled or you miss the flight connection(s) due to a flight delay and you are unable to contact us in this matter, you may purchase the ticket(s) for the alternative transportation without prior agreement between you and us and we will refund you the price of such ticket(s) for alternative transportation up to twice the original price of the unused flight(s) en route to your destination.”
You MUST keep the paperwork for this and paperwork that the other flight was delayed or canceled and you had to do this.
My Air India flight from Chennai to Singapore was canceled and I missed my connection to Bali, so I called Kiwi from the airport to see what to do.
I was nervous that there would be a catch, but when I called from Chennai saying they haven’t told us when they were rescheduling, they offered to put us on a Singapore Air flight the next am from Chennai out then also reschedule the flight we missed in Singapore to Bali.
Technically, Air India had to get us to Singapore, so it was over and beyond that they offered to get us on another airline.
In the end, our flight was rescheduled on Air India for 3 am, so we stayed with Air India and they put us on a later flight out of Singapore to Bali.
The rules are that they will put you on any flight that isn’t more than double the cost of the one you already booked, for free. If it is over double, you pay the difference. We got a flight with our same airline, just later in the day.
Why it was so easy to use their gauruntee:
- They answered their phones off hours with no waiting
- They took our Indian numbers and called us back so we didn’t use all our data
- They emailed within 30 minutes to tell us our options when our phones were out of signal and they couldn’t reach us.
- When Air India kept changing things and it was chaos at Chennai airport, Kiwi was patient and helpful with us.
- They weren’t trying to get out of it, they didn’t even ask for proof of the cancellation or paperwork from us although you should have this just in case they do.
The Downsides of Kiwi.com
So now that I’ve raved about them, what sucks about them? I’ll tell you the two things I wish I could change about Kiwi.com.
When you check out, it will say what luggage is allowed. This day and age, check in luggage is hardly ever allowed. When you want to add luggage, you add it just as a set price. They’ll say do you want to add a 15 kg bag (or more) and you just can select it. It will be one price and you don’t see a breakdown of what airlines that is for. If you are fllying multiple legs or multiple airlines you can’t see the real prices. I checked for my flight to Bali and it worked out okay (as some airlines let you have 15 kg free, but other legs charged about $4 per kg) and Kiwi.com luggage was a fair price.
But, when I flew back from Morocco to London with Ryanair I wanted to add luggage. You cannot add it on Ryanair (you must do EVERYTHING through Kiwi) and it was indeed cheaper on Ryanair than Kiwi.
I actually emailed their customer service to ask why and they explained that it’s just too complicated to break down each airline cost as they are always changing and they have every carrier in their system and combine so many airlines into a journey. So with some bookings you might lose $20 and with others you might save. But, it does end up being cheaper this way then waiting until you’re at the counter to purchase at the airport.
Booking roundtrips as a set
When I book a round trip, I wish I could look at the outgoing flight and choose my favorite one, then look at the return flight and choose it to make my own set.
Kiwi, like nearly every other search engine, makes the set for you.
There is good news, though, as this is just an inconvenience. If you were to book a round trip on United instead of two single journeys separately, you’ll always get a better deal on a round trip. Because Kiwi searches the cheapest routes for each leg, it doesn’t matter if you book round trip and the price will be the same if you go ahead and search the outgoing and return flight separately and book separately if you don’t like the set that shows up.
It’s just not as easy and I wish I could make up my own sets! I am getting too picky, now, though.
I asked about this and they said that it’s best to book a round trip in case anything goes wrong it will keep you in the kiwi.com guarantee.
I reached out to Kiwi to join their affiliate program after I started using them. If you like Kiwi and use my link to book, I’ll get a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
Planning a big trip?
- How to plan a trip from scratch without any stress with my step by step guide
- Read this article about what is and isn’t included in the world’s most popular travel insurance.
- Check if you need visas for where you are going and don’t leave home without them.
- If you want to travel using Airbnb, make an account with this link to get $40 off your first stay!
Pin it for later:
Join my email list and get exclusive updates & news straight to your inbox.
I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Genius – I’ve never heard of Kiwi before but I’ll definitely be checking it out now! Thanks for the tips as always, Rachel!
This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!! Recently when booking flights to the Philippines, Kiwi.com flights have been showing up when I’ve been searching on Kayak but I just ignored them because I was like WTF airline is Kiwi haha. Definitely gonna look into this for my next trip!! I have a lot of flexibility with location but not dates, so being able to make a radius will be super helpful. Thanks!!
lol that is what I thought the first time I got redirected to book with them! I hope you find a good deal!
Be careful with visas on route, my ticket booked 3 days ago flight is not for another 3 weeks but they will not let me change the dates. they will let me book another ticket on a later flight once I have secured all the visas required. We have done this trip many times with cheapoair and cheapfilghts.co.uk and never have we had to leave the transit area when only hand luggage. Kiwi.com is ok if your from the UK with a good passport. anyone else do your self a favor and look elsewhere where connecting flights are the same airline.
They very clearly state when booking “YOU NEED A VISA” – it’s properly stated on their booking site so I can understand if you didn’t read the information properly, that they wouldn’t need to give you a refund. I know it’s stated as I’ve booked one with a visa needed at the stopover. Most times visas are $20 or so (example my recent stopover in Istanbul) and worth saving hundreds on the booking.
The point of Kiwi is that it DOES NOT use codeshares all the time, hence why it is cheaper – and why you have to exit and re-enter, might need a visa, and recheck luggage if you have checked luggage…. if you read this post and their instructions when booking it would all make sense to you.
I hear you! I love Kiwi and just booked a bunch of tickets with them in South America. I guess the one thing I would warn (besides what you have) is that you have to read the small print. We didn’t get our boarding passes until a few days before our flight and only then realized we had to leave customs/ immigration to get to our next flight. It was fine but wouldn’t have been if there was a country fee. Be careful!
Tam @ http://freshcoffeestains.com
Yep, all their connections since they aren’t code share mean re-checking in and re-checking luggage so it’s is a bit more annoying than a regular flight path. I agree the only time it would be a big issue is if there was a visa needed. They do warn about visas when you book – I haven’t had this issue come up yet but it is 100% something to be on the look out for! Thanks for sharing.
Are Kiwi.com sponsoring this post? Do they give you money or perks for being mentioned? The whole site, every article, feels like an advertisement. I don’t trust it any more
Nope, it isn’t sponsored. I say point blank in the post I was not asked to write it nor am I paid by them to write it. I say in the post I am an affiliate and get a small percentage on a booking that comes from my blog the same way I do from Amazon. They are the only booking service I use for flights – if you don’t trust my site that’s fine there are millions more online for you to read :)
I was happy to have discovered Kiwi.com on my own and it was offering the cheapest prices. I had almost planned the whole trip TILL I saw the baggage recheck thing. That basically spoiled the whole plan. It may be ok for westerners who don’t need visas or get visas on arrivals for most countries. I am from India and for me it is impossible to transit through two airports on the journey without getting their visas first from India. It would be a big hassle with applying to two separate Embassies, visa fees, tonnes and tonnes of supporting documents, days of waiting. And then a real chance of rejection. (Hard for Indians to get tourist visas, even for other Asian countries).
I guess I would have to pay double the fare which is being offered at other websites but I won’t need additional visas and the bags will be transited through.
The unending privileges of being a Westerner!
Yes, definitely more of a hassle for Indians and other nationalities that don’t get VOA easily. There may still be some layovers though that would work for Indians, so is worth still checking.
I use Kiwi almost exclusively to travel the world.
One time I was to fly from Buffalo to Armenia and the first flight was cancelled due to a mechanical issue. Sure enough, within a couple weeks I had a complete refund.
To note, the guarantee does not cover “force de majeur” events. One time I was flying from Buffalo to Colombia and the flight out of NYC was delayed horribly due to thunderstorms. I was really worried I would miss my Fort Lauderdale to Medellin flight. I called them to give them a heads up and was told in this case the NYC to Medellin legs would not be refunded due to the clause. Luckily, I made all my flights as the Ft Lauderdale flight had been delayed too. But be aware of this and try to choose the flights with longer waiting times between them, albeit this can add hours onto the total itinerary.
Enjoy Kiwi while you can. They are a Czech start-up and eventually some big boy will buy them out and destroy a good thing.
Thank you for the info. I just booked a flight within europe via Kiwi.com. One thing that I find a little odd is that they ask for my passport number and expiration date to check me in. Have you also been requested this info before? Can one check-in directly with the airline rather than via Kiwi?
Thank you in advance!
Hey – yes I have given my passport info to kiwi.com before and other booking sites. They do it to save you from having to “check in” they will actually check you in for you if you give them the info
One thing I wish was different is when looking for flight beyond 6 months out other sites have prices but Kiwi has nothing. Otherwise, in my opinion, when searching within 6 months it can’t be beat.
Oh interesting. I didn’t know but have never tried to search so far in advance. Thanks!
You don’t tell the whole, unvarnished truth about Kiwi and no, I would not recommend your advice on it. Your blog is a paid-for advert by Kiwi.com
I wish this was paid, lol – it’s always funny when people so matter of factly think they know everything and are so wrong :) Gives me a nice laugh in the morning.
I doubt she’s getting paid for writing the article. Most likely she may get a small commission if you book a flight from them–that is if the cookie doesn’t get crushed. But so what? Can’t you see how much work she put into this article? It never ceases to amaze me how some people think people on the internet should work for free…
Thanks for your support! Yep, I do get a commission and I have that in the post above “I reached out to Kiwi to join their affiliate program after I started using them. If you like Kiwi and use my link to book, I’ll get a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you. Thanks!” What is funny is that the Kiwi.com commission is lower than if I supported Skyscanner, Expedia, and others that would make me more money on sales – but I love Kiwi and it’s what I use and want to help my readers. That makes it even more annoying when poeple like JD Denis make assumptions because if I was in this for the money only, I am doing it all wrong lol
I booked my ticket a few weeks ago and now I want to cancel it. However, they sent to me an email which told me no refund is available and coundn’t explain why?
Can you hep me solve this trouble, please?
I don’t work for Kiwi so no, I can’t help you – but in my experience with almost any booking site you cannot cancel a ticket weeks later and expect your money back you just lose it
I booked with KIWI yesterday and am TERRIFIED because all I am reading are bad reviews. On the booking page the flight I was interested in did not have any warning about hand luggage only yet on the payment page it said hand luggage only! I have contacted them and they said there is NO WAY I can check a bag. What the hell??!! I just WISH I had not booked with them I am so scared everything is going to go wrong.
You can just check the bag at the counter at the airport. If you only saw bad reviews, why did you book with Kiwi!? I love them and always use them – never had a problem.
Hi, I own a US passport and am a little confused about the visa requirements. I am going to Iceland, Norway and Sweden and neither countries require a visa if you are not staying beyond 90 days. So does that mean I still still need a visa because I booked through kiwi?
Alex, no – if they don’t require a visa then you don’t need one regardless of who you book through.
Just want to point out that Kiwi is a great tool to actually show you WHICH routes to book. If you book the individual tickets on the carrier sites they are USUALLY cheaper – I tried this for Ryanair and the flights were 20-30% cheaper booking direct. Kiwi is still cheaper compared to the other third party sites though.
Fine to do if you are booking just one leg on one airline or two legs on one airline – but the thing kiwi does is let you book two different airlines not in a code share and if you miss that connection they will put you on another flight free of charge. If you book through Ryanair for a leg and another airline for another (lets say kiwi found British Airways for another leg) to complete the journey, and you miss the connection you’re just SOL.
hi, has anyone used the radius function? how do you make it work? i used right click and clicked ‘fly to here’ but never i can find an option to draw a radius. help?! thanks :)
Hey I use it a lot – you just drag the circle to draw how big you want it!
I just booked a flight from SF to Paris, then from Paris to NY. On the ticket it says “visa required” on the Paris to NY ticket. If I’m an American, do I really need a visa for this? Let me know if you’ve ever experienced that through kiwi!
No you don’t – usually it says “visa may be required” as it doesn’t know your nationality and it’s a robot putting up the message.
Hi Rachel, in your experience how does kiwi compare with googleflights and momondo? thanks
I used to check Momondo but haven’t in years. Google flights, I do check – but the difference is that Kiwi doesn’t show you only codeshares while Google flights does. This is what makes the kiwi flights cheaper – but you have to sometimes collect your baggage and recheck in as they are not codeshare flights. Kiwi basically does “flight hacking” for you but gives you protection in case you miss your connection. Google flights only shows you codeshares so if you miss a connection, the airline will sort you out on another flight.
I’m a bit confused as to how the checking in works. I found a flight from Boston to Austin, TX for $250, $150 cheaper than I can find anywhere else. I’m happy to take them, but it’s with two different airlines. I’m used to just checking in on my phone the day before, being emailed my boarding passes and being done with it. In this situation, do I have to walk out after the jetblue initial flight, find the frontier desk, check in, go back through security and find my gate? I wouldn’t have any checked luggage so that’s no issue. Or can I leave my jetblue gate after arrival, go to my next gate for the frontier flight and check in at the little desk that’s at each gate? I’m not a frequent traveler and I always book directly with airlines so I’m a bit lost. Thanks!
You would have to go out and recheck in as if you were just showing up at the airport during your layover since the two airlines are not codeshares. This is what makes the flight so much cheaper – and you don’t have to worry about missing your connection because kiwi offers a garuntee that if you do they will put you on another flight no charge. BUT if you carry a lot of luggage then it can add up checking luggage again and defeat the purpose of the cheap flight (so you need to balance out that cost).
And there’s no way to check in ahead of time online with the individual airlines? I just want to make sure I have all the information before I book anything. I know you don’t work for them but I’m having a bit of issue finding info on them from people other than those who messed up their own flights. I would have a two hour layover for my flight there so rechecking in when I just have a backpack shouldn’t be an issue, but I believe I’d only have an hour- hour and a half for my flight home. In your opinion, is that cutting it a bit too close? I definitely understand the guarantee and that’s great but I’d obviously like as little issue as possible when traveling. Thank you for your time and responses!
This is a great article – I also travel worldwide and have been for 11 years – currently in Nepal – what is the name of the low budget flight organization started by a couple you recommended on Facebook with a 30 day trial then its $25 per year – a great deal – I can’t find it on your site — thank you!
Hey you’re thinking of next vacay – it’s awesome
Hi Rachel! I just used kiwi to book a flight for my mother in law, Dallas, Texas to Kosovo a country in the Balkans. It didn’t say anything about seating. Do I need to go and see if I need to pay for seating?
Yep, with any airline you pretty much have to pay for selecting seats these days unless it prompts you to do it when you book – you can go into manage your booking and do it or call them
Hi Rachel. Thank you for your post. I have booked my tickets with Kiwi. The flight is going to be with Ryanair. I cannot do the checking at the Ryanair website. Kiwi said they will do it for me two days before the departure. Do they really do it? Because if Kiwi doesn’t do the check-in online, I will have to pay a fee to Ryanair at the airport.
I have checked in through Kiwi in the past, but it doesn’t happen automatically I don’t think with any airline or website check in, you will get an email that you can check in and you click through and confirm name luggage etc.
Hi, Rachel! I am not sure why but when pricing a multi-leg trip on kiwi, the total for the trip comes out higher that the actual summary of all the prices I selected from the pricing calendar. I am not sure why and what’s the purpose of the pricing calendar then.
Hi Rachel, I have just booked with Kiwi.com, Catania to Dublin with Aer Lingus. Aer Lingus website has no flights left on that day. I hope that my tickets will work as I cannot do online check in for Catania airport, so I must check in at the airport. Here’s hoping all goes well, Pam
Great info Rachel – thanks for that. Do you know how to book excess baggage with kiwi? Don’t want to book the ticket and then find I can’t