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11 November 2020

Best and worst flight booking websites

Which online travel agent or booking site should you use to book your next flight? Our survey of Which? members reveals all.
Flight booking 476599
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WhichEditorial team

With dozens of flight booking websites to choose from, which ones are easiest to use, offer clear pricing with no nasty extras and great customer service? Here, we reveal satisfaction ratings for the flight booking websites that are most used by Which? members.

Unsurprisingly, most flight sites fare badly in this year's survey, with holidaymakers venting their frustration at how their booking site has dealt with cancelled bookings and refund payments during the pandemic.

These reviews cover online travel agents that provide flights. See our table of hotel booking websites if you're after accommodation. Or check our reviews of travel comparison sites to find the best prices on travel, accommodation and package holidays.

Flight booking sites rated

The table below reveals how nine of the most popular flight booking websites compare in aspects such as customer service, website functionality and price.

For more unbiased reviews and independent advice, find out more about Which? Travel.

Flight booking website Functionality of site Relevance of search results Prices Transparency of fees Customer service Customer score
Netflights.com (34)
65%
Expedia (275)
61%
Ebookers (31) - - - - - 54%
TravelUp (43)
48%
Lastminute.com (81)
46%
Gotogate (43)
45%
Opodo (93)
41%

Using the table: Star ratings are based on one to five stars. The more stars the better. Sample sizes are in brackets next to each booking site. A dash indicates we did not receive enough responses to report on a company in that category. Relevance of search results Whether filters worked effectively and results were relevant. Functionality of site How easy the site was navigate and how quickly it generated results Transparency of fees If the first price quoted was the one the customer ended up paying. Customer score Based on a combination of overall satisfaction and how likely people are to recommend the company to a friend. Companies with the same customer score are presented in alphabetical order. 

Flight booking site reviews

Our 2020 survey results reveal that Netflights.com is the best website for booking flights, followed by Expedia, which is the most-used third-party flight booking platform. Neither company scored highly enough to be considered for Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) status.

That said, they still did an awful lot better than the worst companies in our survey. TravelUp, Lastminute.com, Gotogate and Opodo all performed terribly this year, with their dismal scores of less than 50% indicating how few recent customers were satisfied with the service they received and would recommend the booking site if asked.

Read our reviews of the best and worst flight booking sites below.

Netflights: best flight booking website

As the only flight-booking site to get four or more stars for its prices, Netflights.com is second to none if you're bargain hunting. And while customer service is distinctly average, that still makes it better than most of its rivals.

Fewer than one in 10 customers had a problem with Netflights and, if your flight is cancelled, it will contact the airline on your behalf. Just don't expect this process to be quick – refunds 'normally' take around 45 days to process, and it's taking far longer during the pandemic.

Which? verdict: Worth considering for a great deal, as long as you're prepared to wait to get a refund if things go wrong.


Browse flights on Netflights.com.


Expedia: most used flight booking site

While its website works well and it's up front about any additional fees, its prices aren't anything to shout about. One recent customer complained to us that after paying for flights on Expedia, they then found them cheaper elsewhere.

We've also heard from customers who have had difficulty getting a refund from Expedia for cancelled bookings, either because they can't get in touch with Expedia or because refunds seem to be taking an age. One customer had to wait 95 days, while others told us they're still waiting for theirs.

Which? verdict: You'd be better off using Netflights.com or booking direct with the airline.


Browse flights on Expedia.


Opodo: worst flight booking website

Considering the dismal scores of rival websites, Gotogate, Lastminute.com and TravelUp, Opodo has really outdone itself to be propping up the bottom of the our table for the second year in a row.

On the face of it, there's little to choose between these four websites – all have second-rate websites, unexceptional prices and treat their customers terribly. But customers are even less likely to be satisfied with Opodo, describing it as 'uncontactable', with even signed-for letters going unanswered. So it's no surprise, refunds for cancelled flights either aren't forthcoming, or else are agonisingly slow.

Which? verdict: Steer well clear, no matter how tempting the price. As well as being terrible for booking flights, you should also avoid booking package holidays on Opodo, because we've found they aren't Atol-protected.

Flight refunds and cancellations

On the face of it, flight refunds are fairly straightforward – if your airline is based in the UK or EU, or you're flying from a UK or EU airport, the airline must offer to fully refund you within seven days if it cancels your flight. This is because your flight is protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation.

If you booked flights directly with the airline then it is responsible for processing this refund. But if you booked through a third-party booking site, such as the ones featured in our table above, then the refund process becomes more complicated, because the booking site will want to contact the airline on your behalf and then pass any refund on to you when they get it.

However, not only have some airlines been illegally refusing refunds during the pandemic, but some booking sites also seem to have gone completely Awol, with many customers reporting difficulties in contacting some sites. To add insult to injury, Lastminute.com and Gotogate even started charging customers admin fees to process refunds.

The surest way of getting a refund if your flight is cancelled is by booking direct with the airline and paying on credit card. That way, if the airline refuses a legitimate refund request, you can claim your money back from your credit card provider using Section 75.

But remember that you're only entitled to a refund if the airline cancels the flight, which they aren't bound to do, even in cases where the government is advising against all but essential travel. That's why it's always safer to book flights as part of a package holiday.

How we research flight booking sites

Between July and August 2020, we asked 4,893 Which? members to tell us about their experiences of researching holidays online in the past two years. We only reported on companies and star rating categories when we received at least 30 responses.

You can have your say on what we research and help us achieve change by joining Which? Connect.