USA Travel: How are Americans saving money on flights?

May, 20 2019

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Richard Rose
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Richard Rose

Going on holiday is great. Booking a holiday, less so. The stress of choosing the right location, time, accommodation, and flight can be enough to put you off - and that's all before you've even considered how to get the best deal! Fortunately there are apps to ensure you travel in the most cost-effective way. So, as a population who love to travel, we had a look at which flight comparison apps Americans tend to favour. 




According to statistics from earlier this year, the people of America take an average on 6.7 trips per person per year; a figure second only to Finland. Although many of these flights are domestic, Americans still aim to find ways of saving a few dollars. 

Taking the benefits of a price comparison website, and combining it with the convenience of mobile has made for some hugely popular apps, and brought about a multitude of handy new features. Here are the 5 most popular flight comparison apps across the two major app stores.  



Flight GP


It is clear that there are two front runners, significantly ahead of the pack. Expedia, perhaps the most established name present, holds a large stake in the travel comparison market. It's brand name, proven reliability and points rewards programme drive loyalty and return users. 

By comparison, its rival Hopper is somewhat of a new kid on the block, launching in 2015. It's unique feature, that predicts when prices will change, and notifies you when they are at their cheapest, has led to its rapid rise up the app charts. 

As is often the case with competing apps, the rise of Hopper led to the demise of the previously very popular Kayak. Whilst it used to compete for the top spot with Expedia, it's now far more likely to be compared with the likes of Skyscanner and CheapOair. 

The graph below visualises the difference, as the blue line of Hopper overtakes the green line of Kayak in early 2016, and from then on the gap continues to widen. 



flights apple dl chart over time

Download (# by week) Comparison 2014-2019 Apple App Store


Keyword optimisation seems to be imperative to contest in this sector. 9/10 of the apps listed above use the word 'flight' or 'flights' in their name. However, due to the popularity of this word, one might argue it is not a differentiating factor. 

Our Keyword Intelligence gives the word 'flight' a search popularity of 20/49 (GP/iOS) and a competitive score of 46/71 (GP/iOS). 

On the Apple version of their app, Skyscanner opt for the phrase 'Travel Deals', omitting 'flight' altogether. 'Travel' gets a popularity score of 40/52 (GP/iOS) and competitive score of 49/67. 

Skyscanner seem to have noticed that whilst the keywords are similarly hard to rank well on, 'Travel' is a more popular search term. However, they would have perhaps been more wise to use 'travel' in their Android version name, where the popularity of this term is far greater than 'flight' - but only slightly greater on Apple. 




A special mention must go to Their interactive map feature is an intuitive tool that lets you set your home city and see how much different cities would cost to fly to - extremely useful for the early stages of holiday planning. However it only ranks at 75/79 (GP/iOS) in the Travel category. 

Nevertheless, the success of Hopper tells us that customers in this market respond well to unique and practical features, so perhaps a focus on app store optimisation might see the app gain the same traction. 


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