I never feel confident when I purchase airlines tickets. I don't fly very often but when I do, I always feel I could have found a better airfare if I had not waited so long to book my trip or had the patience to wait another week or two in the hopes that prices dip. Hopper, Flight Research & Predictions is a new iPhone app that can help you find the best time to fly and the best time to buy. According to Hopper, the app "analyzes billions of flight prices daily to predict how prices will change." Hopper is free and requires iOS 8.
The app features four tabs and a bright, clean design. It is also surprisingly fast at returning search results.
To get started, you can let the app know your location so it can suggest nearby airports or you can enter your own. After selecting a your departure point and destination, Hopper provides a quick summary of pricing at the top of the results screen, below which is a color-coded calendar view that provides an easy visual of the best times to fly. You can then select exact dates to find out the airfare, moving from the Dates tab to the Prediction tab.
On the Prediction tab, Hopper shows you the lowest price currently available and offers suggestions and on whether to buy now or wait. It will also offer price predictions on how much the price will drop and when it may begin to increase. From this tab, you can tap Watch This Trip to receive notifications when the price drops and before Hopper thinks the price will begin to go back up.
On the Tips tab, Hopper shows you alternative airports and dates that may offer cheaper travel options.
Lastly, the Flights tab shows you the various flights available for your selected travel dates. Hopper offers helpful feedback as you select your outbound and return flights, letting you know if you've chosen poorly and offering better alternatives. You can even purchase tickets using Hopper. In my testing, I saw pricing from Orbitz, Travelocity and direct from individual airlines.
Once you have booked your ticket and arrived at the airport, you can use the TravelNerd Airport Guide app to get you through the terminal and to you gate. And for more travel tips, read how to find deals on last minute flights and hotels.