When it comes to budget air travel, it seems that we just can’t get enough of Spain. The latest figures available from SkyScanner.net
show that Spanish destinations accounted for four of the top five most searched for budget airline destinations during 2004. Topping the list for the second year running, with a commanding lead over its nearest rival, was Malaga (12.3% of all searches), with Alicante (8.3%), Palma (4.6%) and Barcelona (4.5%) taking the next three places. Prague (4.2%) held on to the number five spot from the previous year: continuing to be a popular destination, among both culture vultures and stags and hens.
The figures are the first to be published by SkyScanner.net, Europe’s leading independent flight search engine, which now carries out over 800,000 flight searches every month. Allowing users to compare price and availability information for all of the major budget airlines in Europe, it gathers details direct from the airlines and shows who is flying where and for how much.
Quick, succinct and easy to navigate, SkyScanner leads users through the site with expert simplicity, showing flight details through four simple functions: The ‘Day View’ presents cheapest flights for any destination on a chosen day, for those who are more flexible the unique ‘Month View’ provides details of the two cheapest flights for each day of the month. Displayed within a simple bar graph, users can instantly see the best time and date to make the trip. Last minute weekend flight details can be found by clicking on ‘Weekend View’, where the best deals for the next six months are displayed.
Once you have selected the flights you would like to book, select ‘Live Update’ and the price shown will be confirmed with the airline directly to ensure it is the latest price available. You will then be directed straight through to your chosen airline where you can book your flights, in most cases without having to re-enter your details.
Other popular destinations for stag and hen weekends also make it into the top ten for 2004, including Amsterdam, Dublin and Barcelona. Whilst the traditionally romantic escape of Paris remains at number nine in the most popular searches, it is actually losing ground to the host of new alternatives with 3.5% of all searches in 2003 and only 2.6% in 2004. For the second year running, Geneva is the most popular ski-centric airport, climbing from its year round position of 19th to 5th place during February and March, with nearly 5% of all searches.
Of the 149 budget airline destinations served by UK airports, other particular favourites were Faro which climbed to the seventh most searched destination - most likely boosted by Euro 2004. The launch of services to Budapest in 2004 has catapulted the new EU member of Hungary into 27th position, only beaten by Prague in terms of Eastern European destinations.
The new research also demonstrates that users are most likely to conduct searches between 9 and 11 on weekday mornings, highlighting that most searches are carried out from work based PCs. With the highest proportion of searches carried out on a Monday, the figures also suggest that SkyScanner is a popular choice among people looking to combat the ‘Monday morning blues’.