If you love to travel overseas from the U.S. or Canada, this ScottsCheapFlights.com review is something you’re going to want to read closely. Because using their website app you could save money, lots of it, each time you take a trip. The whole concept behind it is a no-brainer for people looking for international flights, so it qualifies in my book as an Outstanding App for Die-Hard Travelers. Note that Scott’s Cheap Flights does not provide information about most domestic U.S. flights because international flights “are the most expensive and have the highest potential for savings.” That said, if you pay for a Premium membership, you are notified when great bargains come up on flights to Hawaii and Alaska.
Scotts Cheap Flights benefits from the following four general strengths: simple sign-up process, ease of use, cool features, and low to no cost. Each of these facets is described in detail below, along with a few comments on features I would hope they add in the future.
If you’ve got any additional feedback, let me know via the Comment section below.
As you would expect, the website is https://scottscheapflights.com/
Ease of Sign-Up
As with all good websites, signing up for Scotts Cheap Flights is fast, easy, and intuitive. All you’ve got to do is enter an email and create a password and you’re in.
Indicating Your Preferred Airports
To limit the deals you see to the airports closest to you, you simply click the hamburger menu in the top-right corner of the screen and click Departure Airports. You then set a Home Airport and add any other airports you want. The great thing about this page is that it indicates how often deals appear that depart from the airport you selected. So, for example, San Francisco International Airport is listed as having Most Frequent Deals, while nearby San Jose Mineta International Airport is listed as having Frequent Deals and a tiny airport like Monterey Regional is listed as Not Supported. The odd thing is, even though you can turn off notifications for an airport (such as Monterey Regional), there doesn’t seem to be any way to remove it from your list. Not a big deal, but kind of an obvious oversight in terms of usability.
Deciding Which Kinds of Notifications You Want to Receive
This is by far the best part of the sign-up process and the one that shows you what kind of (great) company Scott’s Cheap Flights is. Many web-based companies insist that you provide an email address, and then send you non-stop advertisements and promotional materials. In contrast, Scott’s gives you full control over the kinds of notifications (if any) you want to receive:
- Deal alerts
- Contests & Promotions
- Product Updates
- Educational Messages
If you don’t want any emails, you deselect all four options and just log in to the website whenever you want to start searching for a deal. As someone whose Inbox is flooded with junk I don’t want to know about, I have to say I love the way this is handled.
On a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (fantastic), I would give the sign-up and onboarding (pardon the pun) process a score of 10. It’s so intuitive, I can’t imagine anyone getting confused or signing up for something they don’t want.
Ease of Use
Reviewing All of the Current Deals Leaving from Your Departure Airports
This feature, which is one of the main components of the website, is particularly well done. And like the rest of the website, it’s very intuitive. You log in and click the Deals link in the top menu bar and you’re shown all of the deals originating from the departure airports you selected in your profile. Unlike sites like Orbitz and Travelocity that show you random “bargains” that you have no interest in (from Johannesburg to Lome-Tokoin for $359), Scott’s only displays flights you might actually want to book. That makes researching and planning your trip much faster and easier.
I also like the way the deals are presented, as shown below.
Each deal includes an alluring photo of the destination to help you visualize yourself there and provides the following basic details:
- The time of year the deal covers
- The cost is for a one-way or round-trip flight
- If bags are included or cost extra.
- Whether the deal is available to Premium members only or if it’s open to everyone.
It’s a visually appealing, uncomplicated, uncluttered, and highly descriptive way to present a lot of important information in a small space.
Reviewing the Details About a Particular Flight You’re Interested In
For complete details, you click a photo on the Deals screen and an expanded description opens on a new screen, as shown below.
There’s a lot of important and useful information on this page. The numbers below correspond to the numbered regions in the image above.
- How much the bargain fare is and how much a regular (normal) fare usually costs. Great for figuring out just how much of a bargain the flight is.
- Roundtrip prices from other airports to the destination.
- Detailed instructions on how to book the flight. As noted in the next section, Scott’s Cheap Flights doesn’t try to be Orbitz or Travelocity or Booking.com. They focus on providing flight info and let Google Flights handle the actual booking process.
- Details on when, exactly, you can find the rates listed in the deal, including blackout dates such as Christmas-time and August holidays.
- The names of the airlines offering the deal. Hugely important, so that you don’t end up booking a flight on RinkyDink Airlines, for example.
- The estimated expiration date (or time) of the fare. These are just estimates, so the fare might disappear sooner. For things like Mistake Fares (available to Premium subscribers only), the timespans can be as short as hours.
- Add-on fees. These are becoming an increasingly annoying and unpleasant part of air fares, so it’s good to see this pointed out before you book a deal. Last year, I booked a very reasonable roundtrip fare (outside of Scott’s website) from Amsterdam to San Francisco on KLM. Only after paying for the flight did I realize that I had to pay extra to select a seat for each of the four legs of the journey. Some of the better seats (emergency exit rows, bulkhead, etc.) cost as much as $160 per flight, adding almost 50% onto the base fare that I had paid. With Scott’s website, at least you’ll be aware of this before handing over your credit card info to Google Flights.
- Notes and guides (basically blog posts) explaining how to find cheap flights and how to book them.
Booking a Flight
Although you might expect to be able to book your flight directly through the Scotts site, that’s not the case. They focus on finding you the best fares possible as soon as they become available. At present, at least, they’re not trying to compete with internet flight booking apps. So when you see a deal that interests you, you click the Get deal on Google Flights button below the listing. The Google Flights page then opens with all of the flight details filled in automatically, allowing you to purchase the ticket without hassle.
There are a lot of cool features with this app, the major ones of which I’ve listed below.
- Regular fare displayed beside bargain fare for comparison
- The ability to select multiple nearby airports
- A list of fares for flights departing from other airports (even distant ones)
- The ability to see the range of booking dates the deal applies to
- A recap of the airlines that are offering the bargain rate
- Estimate on how long the deal will last
- Additional fees information
The basic services offered by Scott’s Cheap Flights are free. If you’re a serious international traveler, it’s worth it to pay the $49 annual fee for the premium membership. Premium gives you access to the following:
- All of the great fares discovered by the Scott’s team. Regular, non-paying users see only some of the deals.
- Mistake fares. You’ve heard about airlines entering prices incorrectly on their websites and inadvertently selling trips across the world for only a few dollars. If the Scott’s team notices any of these, they immediately notify premium members, giving them the opportunity to snag the deals before the airlines correct their mistakes
- Rare deals. Scott’s defines these as, “cheap flights to locations that rarely go on sale.” Don’t know if that means North Korea, Outer Mongolia, and South Sudan or just popular locations that have fairly limited sales.
- Hawaii and Alaska deals. This lists the U.S. domestic flights available on the site. And, let me tell you, some of the fares are incredible.
- Holiday and peak season flights. This is where you’re most likely to save the most money. Even if you save just $50, you’ve recovered the cost of your membership plus a dollar.
If you plan to travel overseas, it’s hard to come up with a reason why you wouldn’t use this app. There’s virtually no downside. If you don’t want to pay for a Premium membership, it costs you nothing to use. And you still get access to some amazing deals. If you’re planning to fly somewhere that’s normally expensive, like Australia, the Premium membership is a better option. You’re virtually sure to find a bargain that saves you more than the yearly $49 fee.
Adding to the simple economy of the deal, it’s also a very well designed, intuitive, and uncomplicated website. It also gives you full control over the kinds of notifications you want to receive. Which means, you can sign up without fear of being slammed by travel spam and inundated with promotions and “bargains” that are irrelevant to you.
If you found this information helpful, check out our reviews of these other travel-related apps: