AirWander Review: Easily Search and Book Stopover Flights

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Wouldn’t you love it if there was a really easy way to search for stopovers? I like the travel and being there parts the best. When it comes to planning the flights and routing, I like it best when it’s super easy to do or when someone else does it for me. And now, with AirWander, I’ve found an online tool that’s both super easy to use and does the searching and routing for me!

In my blog post on stopovers and how to use them and book them, I mentioned that I spoke with the founder of a new online tool that finds stopover flights for us. His name is Doug Deming and together with Ela Bader, their amazing creation is AirWander. I spoke with Doug for quite a while because I really wanted to understand how AirWander worked, its best uses, and since its conception a few years ago, how AirWander had improved.

I wondered if price was the underlying factor when people looked for stopovers. In other words, were people always choosing the least expensive flights. I would have thought so but Doug corrected my misconception. He said that people use stopovers for two main reasons: either to see a city they haven’t been to, or most often, to be able to have a visit with family and friends. This made sense to me. Even if a stopover added a few dollars to the cost of my flights, these two advantages would be worth the price.

Doug explained that the people using AirWander are a pretty savvy crowd. They understand what a stopover is and are generally aware of airline rules regarding stopovers. Right now, 50% of AirWander users are American. The most popular stopover destinations are New York City, Los Angeles, Reykjavik, London, Paris, and Bangkok.

When I asked Doug what differentiates AirWander from the other flight booking search engine sites, he told me that there is something called a STOPOVER ANYWHERE feature. This feature allows you to choose how many days you would like to add, and predicts the price difference of including the optimal cities on your travel route. So with AirWander, you can search using the STOPOVER feature to just add in a stopover and see which places pop up, and AirWander will pull up stopovers for you. So that’s the key. After you choose your departure and destination and a date, then the RED stopover box will appear. Basically, AirWander looks for possible stopovers routings to your final destination.

Here’s an example flight from Denver to Tokyo on February 22. Click the stopover button and see what comes up. MANY places with prices, too. So a stop in Los Angeles would decrease the price by $155 and a stop in Vancouver, BC would increase the price by $22. I’m given MANY options and AirWander did it all for me. You can see possible stopover destinations on both your outbound and inbound flights without the time consuming efforts you’d have to put in on other sites to gather all these options.

Then you click on your destination choice and the specific flights come up.

For me, using AirWander was a breeze, and I’m not as tech savvy as I could be. I have a friend who is an expert on website usability, and she gave this site a glowing review. Right now, there is no mobile app, so you’ll have to use the website on your desktop or smartphone.

I had a great time talking with Doug. Like most entrepreneurs, AirWander was built out of the frustration he had in searching and booking stopovers. His frustration turned out to be a gift for us all! AirWander is easy to use, gets you fast results, and in many cases, makes your flights even cheaper when including a stopover. It’s my go-to search engine, for sure. Who doesn’t like easy, fast, and cheap? Give AirWander a try and let me know what you think!

12 thoughts on “AirWander Review: Easily Search and Book Stopover Flights

  1. bluecat

    Some of it is useful.

    My experience with it is that, after you enter the FROM and TO cities and you ask it to SEARCH DEPARTURE DATES, it comes up with a calendar of *some sort* of fares, but it’s unclear what the fare is that it is quoting. E.g., a Oneway PDX–>LON on 3/8 shows $151. Wouldn’t that be nice if it were true?!? :-)

    So then let’s say you pick a departure date; the next screen is actually useful because it tells you the potential stopover cities. So now you can see if any of those make sense to stop in.

    After that screen, though, the experience is not good. For my test cases, it showed incorrect airlines (SWA to London from OAK??), no updating the screen when you change the length of the layover, and a final screen with some god-awful flight times.

    I think that, until they work out the kinks, it can be a useful tool to determine potential stopovers (same as, though). But maybe that’s it. Once you know about those, maybe an itasoftware multi-segment search (with your preferred stop) is still better.

    As an aside, I think I can say that I’ve never done a stopover on a paid flight because they have always been so expensive and, in fact, this is where many award tickets really shine (free stops!). Besides, with so many LCCs flying out of so many US gateway cities (to Europe, at least), it really can make sense to consider those gateways as your stopover.

    1. Shelli Post author

      Great comment, bluecat. Doug is very receptive to engaging with users, so I’ll ask him to address your comment. Thanks for continuing this conversation!

    2. Shelli Post author

      HI bluecat, Let me address some aspects of your comment. I agree that the non-updating screen when you change the length of stopover was annoying. I found it interesting though that I could stopover and bring the cost of my ticket down. I had assumed that stops would always make them more expensive. I also like the way the stopover choices are laid out with photos. I found this easy to make a choice and see price differences. Especially with the anywhere stopover feature. Maybe I am willing to stop someplace I hadn’t though of if the price was right. God-awful flight times aren’t the fault of AW :) I typically use award tickets for long-haul flights but also on occasion pay for these flights, so I see use for a site like this in that case. I haven’t used the other sites you mentioned. Everyone is different in terms of their learning curve with travel and issues like maximizing cash tickets and award miles. I hope AW will be of use to some people. Doug did say his users were savvy travelers, so there are for sure people out there who use stopovers to see more and perhaps save some money, too. Thanks again for being so thoughtful with your comments!

    3. Douglas Deming

      Shelli, thanks for the awesome review!!!

      Hi Bluecat!

      Thanks for the feedback and testing the features.

      The calendar price predictions are a forecast of AirWander’s combination fares as well as the standard ticket fares. AirWander checks combinations of separate tickets for every search (with or without stopovers). I believe there is a bug caused by LON, a city-iata which is composed of (LHR, LGW, LTN, STN) which caused this incredible and unfortunately false prediction of $151. We will be sure this is resolved ASAP. Thanks for mentioning the details and spotting this.

      I am glad that you found the stopover predictions useful. Looking for stopovers with manual techniques can take hours or days, and it is hard to search all the optimal cities and combinations.

      The potential stopovers and price predictions do adjust when changing the number of days. The more data we have, the better the forecast. So, this best seen using larger/popular airports.

      The flight times can be long and is normal for the cheapest fares, as for now there are filters. Often our users see this as a benefit to taking advantage of the long layovers (less than 24 hours). But, we are working on building a “best flight” feature that will clear up this issue.

      We are continually working on improvements and features. For us getting the most out of air travel means adding stopovers, that is why we have been doing this since 2014.

      We love Flightconnections, it is excellent for finding non-stop flight routes, and IATAsoftware is a master at fast pricing and flexibility, but the multi-city will only show airlines that are within the same alliance. Our search combines all airlines regardless of partnerships, finding the cheapest flights possible. No other flight search offers stopover predictions for optimal flight combinations. Reward tickets are hard to beat. We love the rise of LCCs and cheap routes driven by competition.

      I would like to keep in touch if you would want to test out new features before they release?

      Founder of AirWander

      1. Shelli Post author

        Thanks so much, Doug, for expanding on AirWander’s features and best uses. TWG readers ask great questions! I’m glad you’ll be using these questions and suggestions to make AW a better tool for us all.

      2. bluecat

        Good point about flightconnections only showing same carrier. I know some other OTA do offer mix and match and thinking how good that was. Nice to see you are covering that as well.

        I’ll give your site a go the next time I plan. (I guess your target market is people with greater travel flexibility and, thankfully, that’s me)

        1. Shelli Post author

          Glad you checked back to see Doug’s reply. Let us know how your future experiences of AirWander go. Here’s to greater travel flexibility:) Thanks, bc.

  2. Sam

    Can we use this as a guidance for booking award flights as well? Can it filter one world vs star alliance flights?

    1. Douglas Deming

      Sorry, AirWander does not currently have filters by the alliance, only by airlines. This is on the list of features to develop and your comment moved it up the list. Thanks for the request!

      Is there anything else we could add that would help booking reward travel easier?

      (Best if related to stopovers or flight combinations)

      1. Sam

        Thanks. Yes, I am interested in knowing opportunities related to stopovers with award travel. With different alliances, there are different stop over rules. I was recently looking for opportunities to add a stopover from US to Asia.

        My request would be to sort the results with shortest flight duration and fewer stops with above attribute.

  3. Aleks

    Overall it’s a very good concept for stop-over search or wandering where flight can take me.
    With modern computer power making such searches possible, the need for such may increase, and specific traveler’s needs will be accommodated.
    This tool can work well along with other search tools like Google Flights or SkyScanner to further pinpoint the particulars. The more options users have the better!
    Also it would be good to know what airlines may get omitted from the searches, like Southwest (Google does not show prices). This way some low-cost or local carriers can be searched separately.


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