I’ve flown so much that it feels like I’ve spent a good chunk of my life on airplanes. In fact, I have so many frequent flyer cards that I can barely keep track of them all. As a constant traveller, I am also constantly on the lookout for the best airline fares online.
Among the many different price comparison apps, I’ve finally stumbled upon OnTheFly and it blew me away.
Find out how to find the best deals directly from your Android phone in today’s test.
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Features & Use
For over two years now, I’ve been a huge fan of Kayak.com and use it regularly to find the best online deals. Back in November, I wrote a raving review about the app, complementing its design and functionality. After some of the recent updates, however, Kayak stopped working as quickly and effectively as before. And that’s when I came across OnTheFly – an app similar to Kayak, but with much better user ratings.
OnTheFly is a flight comparison app made by ITA Software – the world’s leading flight pricing system used by all major airlines and online travel sites. Basically, this is the system used by all airlines across the world and has the most definitive prices. The only big difference is that – unlike with Orbitz, Kayak, Priceline & co. – you can’t purchase tickets directly through the database. Although Google acquired the ITA Software last summer, they haven’t been able to sell tickets through the website.
Instead of buying the ticket directly from the site, OnTheFly gives you a special booking code that you can use when making the booking with the airline.
OnTheFly is the app version of the Matrix QPX airfare search website and it’s one of those rare cases where the app is better than the original website.
From the main screen you can start searching for flight right off the bat. You’ll need to provide the following information:
- Departure City
- # of passengers
For those of you with more specific preferences, press More Options to adjust:
- Flight departure/return times
- Number of stops
- Allow multi-airline flights
The great thing about OnTheFly is that it only takes a few quick taps to come up with amazing results.
The results are listed in a chart with the lowest price highlighted in bright orange. All available flights can be viewed according by airlines or airports – depending on your preference.
What makes OnTheFly so much better than its competitors is the amount of easy-to-use options and menus. When making a search the app either automatically selects the nearest airport or you can select your own city. What if you are just looking for the cheapest flight to a specific area? Let’s say you want to visit the UK, you don’t care which airport you land in as long as it’s cheap. OnTheFly allows you to search for results at the two nearest airports simultaneously – an awesome feature no doubt!
Once you’ve found a good flight, you can click on it for more detailed information:
- Departure/Arrival times
- Airplane type
- Meals or Beverages served
- Flight duration
On top of that, the app provides you with a breakdown of the total price including all taxes and surcharges, shows the amount of frequent flyer milers you can earn with this flight as well as the estimated amount of CO2 emissions.
The only downside to the whole app is that it’s missing a favorites section where you can save interesting flight offers. In order to save the itinerary for future reference, all you can do is send an email to yourself with all the flight information by clicking the email itinerary. Instead of purchasing the fares directly through the app, OnTheFly allows you to call the airline directly from the app and provide them with the booking code listed.
Having been a loyal Kayak.com user for years, I think I’ve found a new service to switch over to. OnTheFly simply has the most comprehensive database of flight fares out there. Why use Orbitz, Priceline, Expedia and other travel sites when you can go straight to the source and get the best possible deals? Great fares, an amazing variety of airlines and tons of useful options! Very impressive!
Screen & Controls
OnTheFly is beautiful to look at; simple yet very effective. Everything is located right in front of you: no dropdown menus, no small tabs, and no complicated settings. It’s all simple and straight-forward.
One of the app’s best parts is the calendar. Instead of having to type in the date, you can simply tap the relevant dates and the app highlights them in blue. For those of you with flexible schedules, you can search in a three-day range for both the departure and return flight.
I’ve never seen such a well-designed airline fare app. Each airline is marked by its logo – a nice touch.
Speed & Stability
Unlike Orbitz and Kayak, OnTheFly works perfectly without any glitches or lacks. Results are displayed almost instantaneously.
OnTheFly is available for free from the Android Market.