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.
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 cancelled 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!
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