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Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by Cheaplee, Feb 7, 2012.
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Anyone used this site? Any good? Looks good for newbies, like myself.
Have never heard of it. However, looking at the site, you need to pay $29 for them to TRY and find a better deal. Their claim that they save an AVERAGE of $448 is not believable - assuming of course that the flyer has done any sort of checking of prices.
I believe most of us prefer to find our own flights. As frequent flyers we are not JUST looking for the lowest price. We want a flight that is on the airline that we want and the times that we want.
Not much interested in finding a "better" flight when I have in hand, a UA Economy Plus, waiting on a 1st upgrade, for a flight to LAS on Allegent.
And paying for the privilege of doing so??
It's an intriguing concept. The site doesn't offer any information about the people behind it though.
I would tend to take this view. Theoretically they could take all factors like status etc. Into account. Almost seems like dumping for profit.
These are the supposed founder's posts on FT:
They seem very, er, basic.
Not too surprising, I suppose. Does seem pretty elementary.
I don't hold that against them though. Even if you're not an expert in something, if you can pair the non-experts with the experts then that seems like a reasonable business plan if you take a cut. I don't suppose Cheaplee happens to also be a co-founder?
I agree - as long as the business side of things is familiar enough to understand the requirements to deliver and to market the product, that's plenty sufficient.
A few bucks for a discount travel advisor to sort out flexible options for dates and carriers could be a reasonable bargain.
Cheaplee has been registered here for 4 months+ with sporadic posting on other topics, so it'd be an impressively executed covert operation if he is.
That's exactly what came to my mind as well. I had never heard of this site before today.
I'm one of the founders of Flightfox. We're only a few weeks old. I spent the last 2 years flying and living across 6 continents and every flight took me hours to find. I figured that for a small sum, I'd much rather outsource the searching. Not necessarily to get rock-bottom prices (although that is certainly one aspect), but more just to reduce the stress of it all.
Regarding the advertised savings, we've saved some people hundreds of dollars off base Kayak or Expedia prices. This typically happens on multi-city flights, which we're beginning to target. A lot of the time it's just flying to different hubs, using discount carriers for short legs, etc. All of this stuff actually takes a lot of time for the uninitiated.
Of course, you guys aren't 'the uninitiated', but on the expert side, we're working on the assumption we need experts to make $50-100/hour for it to be worthwhile for you.
If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. And all opinions, positive or negative are welcome, it's great feedback for us. We're working madly to make the site better and give value to flyers and experts alike. We think $29 makes sense for any search that would take more than say 20 minutes (but an expert only a couple of minutes). In practice, I found that many flights would take me more than 4 hours to find. That's start to finish, mostly to remote places (Bolivia, Tanzania, etc), understanding the local/discount carriers, etc.
All the best,
Lauren @ Flightfox
People who FD for profit are not so transparent. And the prices are much higher. Think $1K+ for tips that you still have to implement on your own. Flightfox seems to be limiting itself to legit bookings.
Why should I not just call up my travel agent?
Exactly my thought. Although travel agents charge a little more IME (about $35 last time I used one). There is a little bit of a social aspect to this site that could be exploited since they share other people's itineraries, so you could jump on the deals they find.
Not to rain on Flightfox's parade, since I think they do have a good idea, but I already offer on my blog (see the Help page) to help people book flights and everything else for free. It's a lot less work than fuel dumping, so I don't mind.
If I did start charging, I'm not sure $29 up front is the right business model. Maybe something more like you send me what you can find, I'll send you what I can find, and you can pay me half the difference so we both come out ahead. But that's certainly more complicated.
Of course their web page says "Let experts compete to find you the best flights and save you $448 on average."
Notice the disconnect between their web page and what Lauren is saying relative to the savings? Can you spell "false advertising"?
Me too! Me too!
Free is much better than up front fee. IMHO.
I do think you are right about the social aspect of people bidding for your booking and people commenting on it. But can it be more than a novelty act?
I agree this looks like a good business plan. I am lucky, my TA charges only $15
I was forced into whatever a committee of the Washington state legislature thought would be a good pick for government offices in a tricounty region. So I paid $35 for someone to book the flight I already found, and for a higher price, too, since she couldn't use the conference's discount code.
If I had a good TA, I would probably be wiling to pay $15 per ticket.
Sorry for the typo... it meant to read "we've saved some people thousands of dollars off base Kayak or Expedia prices". The $448 is calculated dynamically from the server. We cache it in your browser to reduce processing. You can clear your cache and refresh the page to see it change (it's now $451).
That $448 is somewhat conservative. We don't use the cheapest flight found, but rather the flight actually booked. Also, we've manually reduced the savings for the top 5 or so contests because they didn't look believable. In a handful of cases we saved people in excess of $4k. These were business class or multi-city itineraries where the flyer received a high quote from elsewhere. These were real savings, but showing them on the homepage ended up doing more damage than good.
Also in that $448 is one itinerary that we saved 'minus' $700. The flyer found a glitch in Expedia and got a super cheap flight over christmas for $700 less than we found. We haven't touched that number, it's included in the $448.
Anyway, just wanted to clear that up. We're only asking flyers for $29 and we pay 100% of that back if they're not happy. That $29 can be for multiple people around the world or a single domestic flight if the flyer would rather not search themselves. In fact, we currently have a contest for 18 people flying Australia to the US. We've saved them $500+ each accessing consolidated stock at a big agency. We did all that for $29.
Still early days, but really appreciate all the feedback.
To me it is nothing more than a travel agency stating their surcharge for air tickets is $29. Which is low in the market.
Except a travel agency handles the booking, too, and takes responsibility for helping you if the flight gets canceled or your airline ceases operations. Flightfox appears to be just telling you what you should book through someone else.
Nice detail I missed.
Wow. 29 just to find my flight? And the example about consolidator fares, those often must be booked through a TA. Did they send people off with a "we did our job" to go book with another TA?
How much of the $29 do the travel "hackers" get?
It's not an obligatory service, and you don't have to pay it if you don't agree that it saved you money. Does that mean it has no value to anybody? How often have you spent an hour or two or more finding a flight? I have, and I earn more than $29/hour.
I understand your point. I just find it strange that it wouldn't be obligatory once you say go look and at the same time most of us/many of us enjoy the search/planning. At least I do, but that's why i'm a TA already.