Three New Tools Aim to Make Flight Search Better

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by sobore, May 3, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Three new tools are promising to make airfare shopping a bit easier, though each have strengths and weaknesses that keep them from being a one-stop-shop for tickets. While more information is always welcome, travelers are, even with these cool new tools, still without an ultimate silver bullet for flight shopping.


    Newly launched Routehappy is a fare aggregator with a twist, ranking flights by an overall "happiness score" that takes into account flier reviews of airlines, quality of seats and in-flight entertainment, Wi-Fi availability, and aircraft seat layouts. The central idea is that while most consumers choose an airline based only on price and schedule, expert fliers know that there are significant differences between the overall experiences offered by various airlines.
    Routehappy says it's able to create its happiness score through a proprietary analysis of hundreds of sources, including an exclusive collection of 55,000 flier reviews that the site received during its beta period. By parsing this data, the site can declare that a Virgin America flight between New York and San Francisco offers "elation," while a United flight connecting the same two cities is just "good." Frontier and Sun Country, which only serve the transcontinental route with a layover, can only rate an "acceptable."
    Routehappy might make you think of Hipmunk, which categorizes flights by a seemingly similar in-house "agony" rating. But Routehappy claims that its ratings are more comprehensive, including considerations like connections, aircraft layout, and pricing and availability of premium economy seats, whereas Hipmunk's agony rating is based only on price, flight duration, and number of layovers. What Routehappy and many other meta-search sites don't offer is a complete picture of all airline availability: Missing from their rankings are Southwest, Ryanair, and other low-cost carriers that don't allow third-party sites access to their ticketing systems. [Full disclosure: Daily Traveler contributor and Condé Nast Traveler travel specialist Brett Snyder is an advisor to Routehappy.]


    Momondo is another site that aggregates fare info from across the web, and it has just launched a data-rich airfare analysis tool, Flight Insight, using past searches to determine whether or not customers are looking at a good value. Flight Insight also provides a look at seasonal fluctuations in price: which days of the week offer better fares, and which airlines have, on average, the best deals. The release of the feature comes on the heels of similar but less robust tools from Kayak and Bing Travel, both of which also data-driven fare predictors too. (Momondo has also added flight ratings, based only on price and average flight time.)

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