Zugu is a flight search engine launched recently by Cheapflights Media. 

There are already plenty of flight search engines, so has Zugu done enough to stand out in a crowded market? I've been having a look at the new site and I've also added some user testing videos to see how others have found the site... 

Searching for flights

The homepage is clean and uncluttered with no distractions, giving centre stage to the search box, so visitors to the site know instantly what they need to do: 

The form is simple to use, with the minimum number of fields to allow users to begin a search.

The auto-suggest feature is useful, providing suggestions after users have keyed in three letters, and also showing the country, which helps for destinations where users may be unsure about the spelling. 

The option to search for all airports from a particular city is also useful. Instead of forcing users to specify a particular airport, it allows users to broaden the search. 

Search results

The results appear relatively quickly, and are arranged in order of price, with the cheapest first. The results page is quite busy, but there is a lot of detail required to give users the necessary information about their flights. 

One of the testers found the silhouettes of travellers at the top right of the page confusing, as they expect items in that area to be clickable. 

What is useful about the results page is the number of options to filter and sort the search results, so users can be more specific about flight times, duration of journeys, the airline they use, the number of stops, and so on. Crucially, the results update instantly with no need to reload the page as different filters are applied. 

Above the flight results, there is the option for users to adjust their search according to the times of the flight. The slider tool can be used to set the parameters of the flight times, while the chart provides a useful illustration of the number of flights available during the chosen time frame. 

This is a useful tool, though one of the testers didn't seem to understand how it works. When the results page is first loaded up, some text comes up, advising users to use the sliders to adjust flight times. However, this text comes up very briefly; it may be a better idea to keep this instruction visible all of the time, or when users mouse over the sliders. 

The individual results are clear, showing the airline, seller, and the dates and times of outward and inbound flights, as well as the price. 

Clicking on the details will show further information about the changes, and will also compare prices for the same flight between different sellers. 

Booking flights

Selecting a flight will take users to the booking page of the airline or third party site, opening in a new window or tab. One of the testers found this more useful, as it allowed them to go back and forth between the sellers and the Zugu results more easily.  

I've reviewed a few flight search websites, and they are sometimes let down when they send users to another site to make the booking. Prices and flights may turn out to be different, or users are forced to search again once they reach the site. 

In this case though, all of the landing pages I went to displayed the expected flight times and price, and were only a click or two away from the payment process. 

If you come back to the Zugu results page after heading to a third party site, you are greeted by this pop-up asking if the experience on EasyJet or whichever site you went to was as expected: 

While gathering user feedback is a good idea, but it can be intrusive. The first tester was very annoyed by the pop-up, as it came back on every time he checked back into the site, forcing him to submit a response. 


Zugu is a clean and simple interface, and by sticking to the essentials of flight searches, while providing plenty of options to refine and filter their searches on the results page. 

I've reviewed a number of flight search websites; Fly.com, Skyscanner, and others, and can normally pick a few faults, but I've found that harder to do with this site. 

User testing videos

The first user found the site generally easy to use, but was annoyed by the pop-up question when he returned to the site from the airline booking page: 

The next user was also impressed by the site and rated it highly, though she wasn't sure how the slider tool worked. 

(Thanks to whatusersdo.com for providing the videos.)

Graham Charlton

Published 20 April, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (4)


Adam Lempriere, Lead IA/UX Consultant at HeathWallace

Looks like a promising site! However when I went to visit the URL after reading your article it didn't work, temporary I hope as from your screenshot Ryanair seems to be available. Ryanair previously haven't allowed other websites to present their fares

This site actually does a lot of what Kayak.com does, just ever so slightly differently. One feature that looks somewhat useful is that there is an indication of the prices of different departure/arrival times in a graph form as you narrow your selection.

I like Kayak's presentation of the filters slightly better as they are clearer being in one place down the left-hand side. Zugu's are down the left and top of the body of the page. Kayak also has more filters visible where Zugu has some hidden within tabs,

As to the accurate pricing going from Zugu to the site the user can purchase from, I'd be really interested to see if this was the case or you had just got lucky. Even the host sites themselves such as Expedia, Traveolcity, Orbitz for example only used to produce what could be termed 'cached' results, so you search on Expedia, get a resulting price of say $400 which may change once you continue after selecting the flight. I'm not sure Zugu can get around this as it's a restriction the host sites have. One reason for this use of cached results is that the CRS, which is the airfare distribution system all airlines feed into, places limits and costs on the number of 'real' searches a website can make, hence why sites try to reduce costs of these searches by caching results

Nice review, but probably not a ground breaking site doing much the same as others?


Ex-travel website analyst and clearly Kayak fan!

over 8 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at SaleCycle

Having looked at Zugu last night, I did notice a few eccentricities in the journeys it finds. For instance, to get from Durham airport to Brussells, not only did it cost thousands more than it should, it takes me first to Amsterdam Schipol, then all the way back to Edinburgh, before finally going to Brussels... 

over 8 years ago



Just had a quick look at the site. It seems very easy to use. Quite similar to ebookers.

over 8 years ago



I use this website to find the cheapest flights and it is quite useful when comparing prices between websites so far. I recommend you should search this web

over 7 years ago

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