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Launch HN: Solve (YC S17) – We Save International Travelers Hours of Time
122 points by blainevess on June 19, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 201 comments
Hey! I’m Blaine from Solve (https://www.solve.com) and we're in YC's current batch. We save international travelers hours of time by greeting them at their arrival gate, expediting the immigration/customs process, and making sure they're safely in their vehicle heading to their destination. We’re available in nearly 500 airports around the world, and we help with departures and connections too.

Our service sounds like it'd be expensive, but it is actually quite reasonable for someone who's already traveling internationally. For instance, our service for two people arriving in London costs $225 and in Hong Kong it costs $210. It's about $75/person from there. Many of our clients are business travelers and families, but we can help anyone who values their time and/or wants some extra assistance getting through the airport.

I stumbled upon this idea when a friend and I were flying from Seoul to Bangkok. I wondered if there was a way for us to get through customs more quickly, so I searched Google and found a (rather shady-looking!) website for a company that said it could help. I took the risk of giving this company our passport and credit card details, and amazingly, it all worked out. When we arrived, an agent met us at the gate, we were whisked through the airport process in minutes, and the agent helped us get a taxi to our hotel.

I wanted to book the service for other trips, but there was no easy way to do it. So, my co-founders (Shawn and Justin) and I built Solve. We’d love your feedback and are happy to answer any questions.

This seems incredibly pricey, especially for the services you seem to be promising (which, for all the airports I spot-checked, amounted to Meet and Greet, Custom Assistance, and Transport Assistance). Fast tracking was not covered in the base price for any of the airports I checked. Connecting flight service is $745 per person!!!

Your example pricing was for 2 people, but I checked and it looks like the price for 1 is the same—SFO is $375 (for both 1 and 2 passengers), likewise for BOM ($340 for 1). Given how much you are pushing the business traveler angle, I think it'll be more honest to talk about price per passenger, as business travelers rarely travel in pairs.

Business travelers typically travel light, and might not need as much baggage assistance or custom assistance. Likewise, you only claim to provide assistance booking transportation (the passenger pays for the actual transport), which means that unless someone is traveling to a very very 'foreign' land (where no one speaks English, the signage is very confusing, you are very likely to be cheated, etc. etc.) I don't see too much value coming out of the service for most travelers.

I understand it's a discretionary spend, and that you can charge whatever you want, and that three or four hundred bucks is throwaway money for many business travelers (or their companies) but I was personally quite disappointed to see the pricing, because I was hoping to use it to get, say, an aging parent through all the airport hassle. For 50-100 bucks, worth considering. For 400, not so much.

Pricing varies and our goal is to make it much consistent in the not so distant future. When we decided to build Solve, we thought we were building a simple booking engine. But really, behind the scenes, we are taking a ton of data and making it easy to understand. It just ended up being much more complicated than we thought.

Now that we've got a better understanding of price, it will help us figure out how to optimize. The paired pricing is actually just legacy in the space and we'd like to ditch it or at least come up with something better.

We've got some work to do before we're at the 50-100 buck range, but we definitely appreciate your perspective and feedback.

That was my reaction too.

I don't think there's enough of an improvement over the status quo experience of crossing a border into a new country and getting to your hotel. In "very foreign" places the value might sometimes be much greater. But, in those situations if you could afford to spend $300 on a service like Solve there's a good chance you're staying at a place that will offer similar functionality or you're meeting up with people who will send someone to help you.

That said, if I could book Solve pretty last minute then the prices might be more reasonable, or even be too low. If a flight is delayed and I'm going to be cutting it close for a meeting then $300, or even $600, to remove all uncertainty about the border crossing could easily be worth it. Or if I get to border control and see there's a huge line, I might be more likely to give in to the temptation and spend money to get out of waiting for an hour.

I'm also super curious about the vision for scaling this. Even if the prices came down it seems like it's targeting a relatively small market. Plus, it seems like there are inherent limits on the product's scalability - you could only have a relatively small percent of all fliers using Solve before it would get congested and offer a worse experience than not using it! So, you guys must have something bigger up your sleeves! I'm curious where you see it going. Maybe a wider range of personalized travel services (so, still a small number of users, but more dollars per transaction)?

I dunno, maybe you just need to convince a handful of big companies to offer this as a perk and you'll be all set. Maybe that market is actually a lot bigger than I'm imagining off the top of my head.

All of that said, I do really like the idea of magically making the process of getting from my airplane seat to my destination faster, more comfortable, and less uncertain. I would definitely be a customer at the right price point and/or value prop.

One of the first things I do when I arrive in a new country is pick up a local SIM card so I can use my phone without roaming charges. Sometimes this is nice and simple where you just walk to a booth in the airport and pick one up, other times it's a real hassle, having to hunt around for a local shop and fill in personal information on sign-up. Have you considered providing local SIM cards as part of your service?

This is a huge pain in many of the airports that I have travelled. In fact, you'll even get ripped off at some. For example Rome. We paid 50 euros for a supposedly Schengen wide 1GB plan but as soon as we left Italy that SIM was useless. So yeah, I'd definitely pay someone if they can just hand me a SIM at a nominal price as soon as I walk out of immigration/baggage claim

Singapore has done this in a great way. As soon as you take your bags and go out there are display boards for SIM purchases - quite quick as well. Super friendly staff.

EDIT: changed Europe to Schengen.

In Rome buying a sim is a total gamble -- many times they don't even work. I learned to buy the sim, then literally STAND in the same line and install it into my phone. (When I do this the staff at these stores start to get nervous.) If it doesn't work - I hand them back the sim and explain it doesn't work on my phone. They then take my receipt, type something into their computer, restart the phone and explain how it should work now. THEY NEVER check the phone to see if it works they know -- its related to something they are typing on their computer. ALSO, another trick they try is to explain it takes 24 hours. This is a total lie, it wont work after the 24 hours -- i usually just argue until they fix.

Are there people who take the SIM and leave? I always assume everyone stuck around until data was okay on the phone, since sometimes it needs activation, sometimes it needs settings, etc.

In Japan you can buy it at the convenient stores and the "mini" electronic store (haneda) at the airports. Switching sims, setting up the APNs, and the NO REFUND AFTER OPENED on the sticker make people buy it and jump on the bus or train to downtown tokyo (where you have 45mins ~ 1.5 hours to burn anyways).

Hmm, I see. Maybe that's why the ladies selling the SIMs at Haneda were a bit perplexed when I hung around to make sure that it worked.

Yeah, even if you buy a prepaid sim and it doesn't work on your device the store probably won't refund you (unless it's "cracked" or something when you open it).

I've had this happen in the US too. Verizon branded Android phone taken to a Verizon store to get a different sim, assured it would work and then had to walk out after 3+ attempts, calls, and fiddling on the computer.

Even in Singapore, the SIMs are sold at arrival are priced 30-50% above the retail rate and you will have to wait for data activation. I wish AirBnB hosts can offer pre-activated SIM as a value added service (Airport wifi is usually good enough to book an Uber).

Why do you even need to buy SIMs? Are international plans that pricey in the U.S.? Here in Europe they are quite affordable, my Czech 'connect for good for abroad' is $0.35 per MB which is enough in most situations.

The average web page size is now almost 3MB [1]. At that rate, it costs about a dollar to load a single web page and about $350 to download a gig of data. That's not affordable, especially when you can get the same service at a fraction of the cost by buying a local SIM. For instance, it costs $5 for 4GB of data in Cambodia. It would cost you $1,400.

[1] http://httparchive.org/interesting.php

We do have Google Fi, which is $20/mo + $0.01/MB. It works in 180+ countries with no need to swap out SIM cards. The main downside is the lack of phone choice...basically only the Google flagship phones (Pixel and Nexus...not the worst choices) because of something to do with the radio hardware they use.

For the casual traveler, it might not make the most sense, but for someone who does a lot of international travel, it's a great option.

This is much less of a pain since EU roaming charges ended on 15 June 2017.

"Roaming charges end on 15 June 2017. Europeans travelling within the EU countries will Roam Like at Home and pay domestic prices for roaming calls, SMS and data."


Happily using my UK SIM and data plan while traveling through several EU countries.

> This is much less of a pain since EU roaming charges ended on 15 June 2017.

> Happily using my UK SIM and data plan while traveling through several EU countries.

The Brexit should fix that for you.

Israeli sims have free roaming in EU. No reason why the UK can't keep that.

Because, when British carriers get a chance to fleece their customers without pesky European regulators spoiling the party you can be damn sure that they'll jump on that opportunity in a heartbeat.

If you (or anyone else) has to travel to Japan I endorse https://www.rentafonejapan.com/ - they will have the phone or cell modem delivered to your hotel and you can drop it to the reception or in a mail delivery box on your way to the airport.

At either of the airports you can buy a sim card to use in your phone for internet (and use google voice for outgoing calls). They are sold at convenient stores (only the tourist ones like at the airport) and the electronic shops (the temporary sim cards are only sold at the tourist ones). Haneda airport has a bic camera mini.

Man, Japan is way ahead of the rest of the world, when it comes to certain aspects of convenience.

And way behind in others. Sims are way over priced. 1Gig is $30 vs say Singapore 7Gig for $20 or Turkey, 15Gig for $15

As another example even though > 40% of users don't have a landline more often than not you can not call a Japanese toll free number (0120) from a cellphone.

There's also the issue that unlike the USA where you can't tell from the phone number if it's a cellphone or a landline, in Japan you can. Cellphone numbers start with 070, 080, or 090 where as landlines start with different prefixes. Because of this you're judged based on your number. A person or company without a landline is judged to be less trust worthy than one with. Oh, and landlines require $700 to start (though that may have been finally fixed)

...and way behind in others. Try finding a pre-paid voice & data SIM in Japan (hint: it doesn't exist due to arcane regulations - non-residents can only get data-only SIMs). Most WiFi spots require registration that require you to confirm identity via a verification email (think chicken and egg).

I hope not to drag this conversation too much down the rabbit hole, but do you have any advise about what and where to get when it comes to a data SIM, which works on a GSM phone in Japan? Validity: ca. 1 month.

I used a pocket wifi from Sakura Mobile when I was Japan - https://www.sakuramobile.jp/

They delivered it to my hotel and it was easy to set things up.

Basically the same (except I used Rentaphone, as mentioned above).

+1, that would be great. Usually it's pretty easy to pick one up in the airport, but I would certainly pay a little extra if I didn't have to think about it.

T-mobile (Post-paid) has free international data and SMS... works in 100s of countries. No extra cost. This is the sole reason I am a customer.

The data is slow, but definitely good enough. It is good enough to use google hangouts to call phones back in the states.

T-mobile also routes though a Texas VPN when you're out of the country, which has its tradeoffs (super annoying latency, but no censorship in places like China).

This is the way that mobile data roaming works - the Internet egress point is your home carrier's, not the carrier on which you are roaming. Nothing special about T-Mobile here.

Great idea. I still haven't figured out a surefire way to do this for China travel.

Huh? They have a booth selling China mobile SIMs, but they might offer Unicom also (important if you have a GSM phone) inside customs, I believe it is 24 hours, for most international airports.

The SIM is pay as you go, you can refill it at most newspaper stands.

The problem generally isn't the SIM itself - it's the form factor. Granted I haven't traveled to China in two years now, but MicroSIM form factor was nonexistent there on my last trip. Many vendors used cheap, shitty handheld punches to get the excess plastic off of normal SIM cards to get them into SIM form factor. This worked about one time out of five - most of the time it just destroyed the SIM card.

We have an awesome offering at a good amount of China airports, we'd love to help! We're are also actively decreasing prices in China this month, so be on the look out :)

Or just use Google's Project Fi with no roaming charges (if you are from US).

From what I hear, Fi is by no means perfect, it's only available for a few phone models, and I'm not from the USA anyway.

What cell service is perfect? Fi is wonderful for a simple pricing structure and having service in 170+ countries as soon as you land. It allows me to use my phone in the few hours it takes from landing in a new country, to getting to my hotel, to getting to a cell provider to get a local SIM.

It is only officially supported on Nexus and Pixel phones, which are great devices. You can get around the limitation by doing some Googling as well if you insist on using a different device.

> What cell service is perfect?

"By no means perfect" doesn't mean "isn't perfect", it means "it's actually quite a long way away from being perfect".

I check in on the state of Fi every so often, and from what a lot of users are saying about it, it seems to be at best beta quality, and that's using the handful of officially supported devices. Perhaps in the countries you've been to with the device you use it's fine, but it doesn't seem anywhere near as reliable as picking up a local SIM.

Throw in the fact that it's not officially supported for most devices and that it's only available in the USA makes it a complete non-starter for me.


> if you insist on using a different device.

Having a device that Fi doesn't support isn't me being unreasonably stubborn like you seem to think. If Fi doesn't support the device that I use, that's Fi's shortcoming, not my own.

Maybe you missed the part where they said they are not from the US?

Once Google Fi is activated, it can work on iPhones and other devices. I use it all the time when traveling. Data-only SIM cards are free on Fi, (with no monthly recurring fee) so you can roam on multiple devices and only pay a very low fee ($10/gig) for what you use.

?? I thought Project FI had a min $20 a month basic rate. Looking at the site it certainly looks that way. Is there a way to have a Project FI account and no monthly fee if not used?

Yes, you can suspend it for up to 3 months: https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6079346?hl=en

We definitely see the pain point here. It'd be great to be met by our agent and handed a SIM card or hotspot. Thanks for your feedback!

Why don't you switch to Project Fi? It's a network service from Google in USA which has coverage in lot of other countries internationally.

Disclaimer: I am just a happy Fi customer

+1 for Project Fi for international travel. Terrible for calls in the US, but great for international travel.

What about instead of a local SIM card, you're able to get a smartphone from the hotel you're checking in to and you can use it to hotspot your phone?

I don't want to carry around or keep charging an extra device.

What if it was free?

It's not that it's free, but having to carry around another device is a hassle.

Thanks makes sense.

Hey Blaine! Congrats on your launch.

My co-founder Sarah and I just moved from SF to travel the world while we bootstrap our startup, Canny. I'm also a huge fan of products like Shyp, Instacart, Prime Now, and Gobble that let you trade money for time. I think I could be your target customer.

However, $210 sounds pretty darn expensive for HK. I just went there last Nov. It didn't take much research at all to figure out how to get the 2 of us downtown on the bus for $40-50. The immigration process was smooth.

Maybe I haven't felt the pain point you describe, or maybe I'm not wealthy/spendy enough to be your target customer.

My feedback for you would be to work on crafting a story that sounds like "oh man, that's a life saver" rather than "save a few hours". Or maybe be more obvious that your product is just for the very wealthy and business travelers - like a high end credit card or something?

Just my 2 cents, hope it was useful. Best of luck!

While I'm here, another concern I'd have is stickiness.

With Gobble I'll happily pay a weekly subscription and make dinner all the time. With Solve, most people only travel a few times a year.

Maybe this reinforces that Solve is more for (frequent) biz travelers, where it would be stickier.

I have a few friends who are management consultants who fly literally every week, their companies might pay $200 for them to save a few hours. It's probably easier to charge a fortune 500 a few hundred bucks per employee than it is individuals. Worth noting that it's US-only travel though.

It's kinda like when people started expensing Ubers from the airport rather than taxis.

I hear your concerns. The key I found in certain airports is that one day immigration might have no wait, but another day you're stuck waiting for over an hour. For people who travel relatively frequently, especially business travelers going long distances, seeing that line is a nightmare.

To your point, $210 in HK isn't for everyone, but a number of people find the cost quite reasonable for the time savings and safety factor.

We're new and still crafting our pitch, so I definitely appreciate your feedback there as well!

Generally countries offer expedited customs and immigration for frequent travelers. For Hong Kong and most Asian countries, there's the APEC card which costs about $100 (one-time fee) and an interview at the airport in the US.

Since you're an international traveler, I'd like your thoughts on our idea.

Would you think it's a life saver if the hotel you checked into at your destination gave you a smartphone that gives you access to the Internet, Google Maps, and other travel-related apps while you can also use it to Wifi hotspot your own personal phone?

I travel a lot and to many different places and I can say no, this isn't a useful service to me. A local SIM card yes, and those are the first thing I do upon arrival at airports (I have a pouch of 30 or so I keep as momentos).

My wife was just in Accra and received an Android device like you described at her hotel. My advice to her was not to use it for anything that involved logging in, because honestly, that just sounds shady.

There is something called a Handy (I think) which is an Android phone; it works well for browsing and maps. I have gotten one for free to borrow in a number of hotels around the world. Usually I have a local SIM though.

No. I don't stay at hotels, I stay at airbnbs. Most hotels / airbnbs have Wi-Fi, so you don't need the separate device.

I'd rather just have a SIM card. I buy these at the airport anyway.

Thanks for your input.

Dear Blaine/Solve-employee, we know this is you. Be honest with us and just post on the OP account. Faking it is even worse than self-promotion spam. :)

Eh, I don't think this assumption is warranted. It could be a prospective competitor.

I've had this option several times, however I never actually used it...

I've had a Korean hotel offer this. It wasn't really that useful; I bought a SIM instead.

Definitely, not one of our Solve team members but would love feed back on this person's post!

I'd agree with other commenters here that it seems pretty expensive for what you're getting, or at least the value proposition is poorly presented. For example, I don't see any reason why I'd want to pay for this at a US airport (at least from the perspective of a US citizen). On the other hand if you told me the immigration line at XYZ airport was typically 45-60 minutes long and you could guarantee me priority access, there is a value there that I might pay for.

The pricing also seem really opaque - the prices even within a single country vary (from $250 at JFK in the US to $375 at SFO, why?). Certainly the going rate for a fixer at the location must play into this, but from a customer perspective I'd expect the fee to mostly depend on the value to me - I'll pay more if the expected level of delay or hassle is high. That might actually be inverse of the rate you pay the fixer - there's less value in US/Europe for me than if I'm traveling in e.g., Southeast Asia.

Overall though I think this is an interesting idea and I'd be a customer at the right price point, at least for certain destinations. Good luck!

Love all of your points here. The pain for a lot of customers seems to be international travel. You're often not sure what to expect and once you're out of the airport safety can also be a factory.

We're working with a ton of different vendors and suppliers so pricing is a bit opaque, however we're working to normalize and bring down pricing as we grow the business. For example Johannesburg is $140 for the first two travelers and $60 there after.

Overall, the goal is to modernize this industry and provide different products to different customer segments based on price/features. This is just the beginning :)

Do it guys! There is definitely a demand for this!!!

VIP lounges, fast track and other premium services are all different from airport to airport, procedure for ordering them is unpredictable and sometimes cumbersome (like, faxing a request on the company blank and paying through the wire transfer ONLY, no credit cards accepted - that isn't an exception, but more like the accepted practice). If you will figure it out to the Uber level, when i can take an iPhone app, type in my booking reference for the flight, pay through the attached paypal account or CC, predictable and reasonable price, and someone will meet me at the entrance to the airport or off the plane and get through everything - that will be a killer!

Appreciate the kind words and support! You're amazing! Before we started this company definitely felt the low tech insecurities of booking these types of service. To your point, the goal is to definitely "Uberfy" the process as we grow. Thanks again and we hope to serve you soon!

It's a good idea, and it reminds me of "handlers" in the general/business aviation world. When you land, they expedite your fueling, customs, immigration, overfly permits, flight planning & routing, and more.

Back to normal travelers - I wish there were a free wiki that covered all this, since it seems like it's just a matter of having the right information. Like knowing which office to go in, what forms to have ready, etc. I guess it'd be more targeted towards casual travelers who won't pay $200 for this kind of service.

Wikivoyage is the usual resource for this. Note that much of wikivoyage is targeted towards the backpacker world and is somewhat spammy so I wouldn't necessarily use it for hotel/restaurant recommendations, but it tends to be pretty good for basic stuff like airport entries and city transportation systems.

Wikitravel is very similar - I believe wikivoyage forked from wikitravel some years back, and my understanding is that many of the primary contributors moved to wikivoyage.

> Back to normal travelers - I wish there were a free wiki that covered all this, since it seems like it's just a matter of having the right information. Like knowing which office to go in, what forms to have ready, etc. I guess it'd be more targeted towards casual travelers who won't pay $200 for this kind of service.

I went on an extended backpacking trip recently across 5 continents, and Wikitravel was unbelievably invaluable. Because it's a wiki, it has all the tiny up-to-date details that you're not going to find on more professionally-produced websites, right down to sidestepping tourist rip-offs like "if you go around the corner to XYZ plaza when you land, you can get a taxi for $20 cheaper than taking it from the airport".

We're actually working to provide our travelers with more information and want to build out more of these pages that help general travelers whether or not they're paying.

For our service, however, it's not necessarily just about finding the "right" counter or "right" service it's having your own personal problem Solver to help you through the airport. If you're a company and you're sending an employee on an international trip for the first time, you want that reassurance that your employee (often your most valuable asset) is safe and comfortable. After all comfortable employees are productive employees.

First of all this is a great service, and congratulations on the launch.


After checking I am a bit disappointed:

- Istanbul: $235.00 Not including "Fast Track Immigration/Customs" for 2 passengers you can get local fast track card (I think it is around $500 for a year) which grants fast track on immigration/customs and also for all security checkpoints for 2 pax

- Amsterdam: $345.00 Includes fast track vs Privium Basic €121 yearly incl. VAT

- London: $220.00 Includes fast track vs AFAIK it is around 50 GBP for fast track for one time

Also I think if target is business travelers, a lot of airlines provide complimentary fast track for business class travelers. I don't recall not using fast track when flying business.

TBH I dont think Meet and Assist has big value, unless you provide some added value there.

Also at least I was expecting some lounge access on departures.

I'm interested in Amsterdam too, but $345 is essentially 34.5% of the price of my direct flight. For many US folks $345 is going to be more than 50% of the ticket... Just way too hard to justify, even to an employer.

And frankly, the 5% discount they're throwing out is more insulting than offering no discounts at all.

Edit: I think to further clarify, the problem is that this seems most useful to casual/recreational travelers, but at business traveler pricing. E.g. if I fly to Amsterdam frequently for business, I'm not likely to need help navigating Schiphol AND you're competing with Privium (cheaper, more benefits). If I fly to Amsterdam as a tourist, I need the help but am unlikely to find the price appealing. IMO Solve is better off targeting casual travelers at a much cheaper cost and leave the business travelers to the clubs & memberships they already belong to.

Hey there! We're still working on the wording and how we're crafting the message, but where we say we include Fast Track Immigrations and Customs we have access to a dedicated fast track line or the diplomat line.

For airports where it says does not include, we usually have an expedited immigrations/customs. Another agent will go stand in line a head of time and you can cut in with them, or they'll know the immigration officer and simply walk you to the front. It's true for all airports we service except for the US airports.

We've found that a good amount of families and the elderly benefit from the meet and assist. We also have a fair amount of high profile clients that want to avoid the paparazzi.

We consider our agents problem solvers. For example, we had a client leave his phone and passport on the plane in Singapore. The agent ran back, talked to the airline staff, got onto the plane to grab the passport and phone and was back in 5 minutes.

Lastly, our agent syncs up with the driver or helps you buy a train ticket which has been a huge value for our clients. Basically not having to think about how to leave the airport - our agents are taking care of everything for you.

> Another agent will go stand in line a head of time and you can cut in with them, or they'll know the immigration officer and simply walk you to the front.

If I would be in said line and observe such a behaviour, I'd be really pissed.

So in schipol, you want someone to pay you 300 dollars and then awkwardly cut into one of the huge lines at immigration? Or is this for customs, where there is no line?

I have the same issues. Its incredibly pricey and lounge and fastrack access isnt guaranteed.

We're definitely working on decreasing pricing and adding features like lounges. Over the next month, for example, we're going to be working with vendors to drastically decrease pricing in China. Our goal was to launch quick to get feedback so we can start addressing the pain points.

How does this work, inbound, to the US ?

When I return to the US (San Francisco) on first class or business tickets there is no segregation of lines/service - you queue up in the big line and wait your turn (45-60 minutes later) like everyone else.

Other than diplomats, I see no mechanism for expediting immigration/customs inbound to the US and my (short, reckless) research suggested that expedited immigration/customs is not a perk for any level of ticket price or "elite" status.

Perhaps I misunderstand ?

> I see no mechanism for expediting immigration/customs inbound to the US

Global Entry [0], if you are a US citizen or permanent resident.

It is life changing. Immigration takes under a minute at a kiosk and there is a priority lane at Customs.

[0] https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-...

I don't fly internationally all that often, but I do sometimes and just did this week, and I have never had an immigration experience that took longer than the baggage claim did. Is this a problem that only occurs at airports other than O'Hare, or am I just lucky?

The big variables are (rough order) entry airport, the mix of passengers on the exact aircraft you're on relative to your own citizenship/immigration status, the general business (or lack thereof) when the flight you're on gets in [+], and conditions at the airport on the day of your arrival.

If one very consistently flies exactly Delta 6 and is a US citizen, one will very rarely wait more than 15 minutes in Detroit.

It is, unfortunately, very, very easy to spend hours in line. (4th quartile for me is probably 2 hours; max was close to 5.) If one is selected for secondary screening, throw all estimates out window; you've transitioned from routine travel into an adversarial proceeding with the USFG.

[+] Since most airlines operate on schedules which do not change much on a week-to-week basis it is fairly predictable that e.g. 10 AM on a Tuesday, and hence $BAR Flight $BAZ's scheduled arrival window, will be busy, given that N flights from abroad arrive near that window.

I've had immigration experiences at O'Hare that have taken 2 hours.

Even with Global Entry I've had immigration take 25 minutes at O'Hare.

What part of the process did you end up waiting 2 hours at? (I'm just curious, and I guess feeling lucky).

The line.

Before or after bag pickup?

Its been a few months since I've cleared at O'Hare vs Midway. But my memory is "long ass immigration line that is bad for US citizens without Global Entry and terrible for non US citizens" followed by baggage claim and "basically a cursory scan by customs".

The last time I did this I had Global Entry and 5 of the 10ish kiosks were broken so that took a fair bit of time as well (you skip immigration but not customs in that case).

[edit] the time I had a truly miserable experience the line for immigration stretched long down the hallway to the immigration hall. It took more than an hour to see where the citizens vs non-citizens lanes began.

"Global Entry [0], if you are a US citizen or permanent resident."

Ok. But how are they (Solve) going to do it ?

Or is the US entry side of things not part of their product offering ?

You're correct in that we can't offer immigrations/customs help in US airports (with the exception of JFK and MIA). However, we can help in about 400 airports around the world. We can expedite clients through departures on international flights.

A lot of our clients flying domestic, however, still find value in the service especially families and the elderly.

Wow, that kills your arrivals product in the US then. $375 for someone who will meet me with a smile, watch me line up for immigration and carry bags? An interesting tidbit is that Japan Airlines offers a similar service for free for familes: https://www.jal.co.jp/en/inter/support/family/

Interestingly I tried both those airports as they're the ones I most frequently arrive at when flying in to the US. I'm not a US citizen, and the lines for immigration at both of those airports take me a couple of hours usually, so I'd have happily stumped up for this service. The quote you offer for both says they do NOT include expedited immigration/customs however. So is your site broken already or what?

Edit: I see from other comments in the thread that you do this at JDK/MIA by having one of your agents stand in the queue ahead of your customers and then letting them cut in when they arrive. The British in me finds this abhorrent, and there's no way I'd do it.

+1. It took 20 seconds to clear immigration and customs last time.

Off-topic, but how expensive are five-letter, English word .com domains right now? I don't see new companies with domains that are small-ish words very often.

For those interested in researching past domain sales, namebio.com is a great starting place. It has a searchable DB of public domain sales which can be filtered by extension, length, etc.

Eg. five-letter .com search: https://namebio.com/?s==ITO4gTM5ITM

Also the weekly domain sales report by Ron Jackson is another good place to get a sense of current sales: http://dnjournal.com/domainsales.htm (I believe these are included in namebio's DB, but regardless Ron adds some color commentary to the numbers)

For five-letter .com domain names sold within the last 12 months, here are some public sale prices: place.com $550,000; asset.com $406,000; sandy.com $46,100; hours.com $31,000; sleek.com $30,000; patty.com $21,000; drove.com $18,500; these.com $14,100; vents.com $5,500; swore.com $5,450

Wow, yeah that domain must have cost a ton of money. Wouldn't that be worth at least 5 figures, maybe even 6? Is that something that YC would encourage them to do, and maybe help fund the domain purchase?

You're right, the domain wasn't cheap, but we had it prior to YC. We bought Solve.com at my last company (n/k/a StudentBrands.com) for a math-related product we were going to build, but we decided to focus elsewhere and didn't use the domain. Anyway, we were able to work out a way to use it in a way that worked out for everyone.

I kind of expected something like that, based on the generic-ness of the domain. Hopefully you can leverage that generic-ness into solving other problems under the same name.

Nice service, lots of luck.

Definitely something YC encourages (.com domains), but definitely NOT something they would encourage you spend YC money on. They would tell you to pick another domain, like getsolve.com or something.

For a service like this. Domains mean nothing. If they spent more than the price of a .com domain it's a mistake.

For consumer facing product, they find you one of two ways.

1. Social (Paid ads) 2. Google search (Paid ads)

I am not talking about viral products or brands, I am talking about the average service (like this one).

I saw many companies do this mistake, some paid 10K some paid 2m<, all made a mistake IMHO.

Think also about customers who have seen already seen your ad or read about the company somewhere, but did not have immediate need for the service back then. Good and simple domain name might help the end up to the web page right away. If they need to Google, they are exposed to all your competitors.

From what I've seen (and again, I might be very bitter about consumer facing products) the behavior is that even if they think they know your name they will still end up on Google. At which point whether you are solve.com or getsolve.com it matters very very little.

Like it or not, Google is the entry point and how consumers will find your service.

This is certainly our hope. Thanks!

This all sounded incredibly like a very San Francisco first world problem, until I thought of one use case for which you could be incredibly useful - old grandparents who don't speak the language traveling internationally on their own. I know mine are always afraid to travel because there is no one to help them on connecting flight to go cross customs on arrival. $300 to help them move doesn't sound all too bad, when combined tickets are already over a grand.

A good solution for grandparents is to ask for wheelchair service. It is usually free and they'll get whisked from the checkin desk all the way to the baggage claim on the other end. If they don't like the idea of sitting in a wheelchair, they can just walk next to the agent.

Yup. Have done that on "both ends," which is really convenient and also allows me or someone else to accompany them directly to the gate. That said, Solve could be a solution in transit. For example, try navigating Schiphol or Heathrow if you don't speak the language, and have a long delay between your connections. There's room there for premium experience.

Looks interesting! Out of curiosity, how do you guys actually expedite clients through immigration/customs/security? Do airports really let you do this?

Every airport already has this service. It is simply complicated to order it. Like VIP/CIP lounge/fast track/diplomatic channel/anything.

That is a complicated, unsexy business though. It will be hard to pull off on a scale, in many airports.

do things that don't scale.

yeah, i just imagine how painfully difficult it will be for them. Every time they will try to make arrangement with a new airport to become their point of service, they will hear a lot of 'young man, get off my butt, you don't know what are you doing' before they will get a deal. The people who are in charge of these things in airports are very entitled, arrogant, and bound with a lot of regulations because it is a border and customs control zone after all.

All the quick quotes I have requested so far exclude fast track security and immigration, without an obvious way to add this service (USA, EU) and they run around $300 - which is a lot of money for a "meet and greet", and essentially have someone carry your bags for you, only to still be queuing up.

Hey there! We're still working on the wording and how we're crafting the message, but where we say we include Fast Track Immigrations and Customs we have access to a dedicated fast track line or the diplomat line. For airports where it says does not include, we usually have an expedited immigrations/customs. Another agent will go stand in line a head of time and you can cut in with them, or they'll know the immigration officer and simply walk you to the front. It's true for all airports we service except for the US airports.

> Another agent will go stand in line a head of time and you can cut in with them, or they'll know the immigration officer and simply walk you to the front.

No offense, and maybe I'm not the target customer, and my international travel outside the US/EU is limited, but this seems like the kind of behavior that's going to make other travelers angry.

Is "place in line holding" just more common in other parts of the world?

This is something I could actually see myself using soon, what perfect timing to stumble upon it.

ps. Whatever SEO marketer you went to, abandon them ASAP. The spammed geo pages (in this case: airport pages) with duplicate content is going to impact your rankings negatively. It is considered a "black hat" SEO technique. That or differentiate the content in a meaningful way. I only checked 4~ of the pages and they were all the same, so I'm assuming they all are. I could be wrong, but even then you'd want to change any that are too similar.

E: A small grammar fix.

That's awesome to hear! Please use promo code "hnfriends" for 10% off your booking.

Thanks for the SEO feedback, we'll definitely relook our strategy!

I landed in Beijing Sunday and arranged a car from my hotel since Uber doesn't work here. I arranged via email for the Intercontinental to send an Audi for me and my colleague for CNY 780 (USD 114). Included in the price was an expediter service of a very nice woman who met us at the gate and accompanied us through immigration until she put us in the car.

In Europe, your service doesn't make sense either, because Uber to a hotel is so convenient and reliable.

I'm your target audience, but I don't think you've hit product market fit yet.

Hey I travel a lot, always economy class, I hate queues... Im not sure about this, is it legal to speed up immigration process? Like how can non airport staff even get access to help you speed up internal airport stuff? I understand prebooking a taxi and helping you carry luggage? But anything else?

It's definitely legal, all of our ground team members have special badges that allow them to do this service. They'll escort you to special fast track lines or simply walk you to the front of the immigrations and customs lines.

Our agents are problem solvers. If you forget something on the plane or need something they'll be sure to handle it quickly and efficiently. They're your your best bet when trying to get through the airport as quickly and safely as possible. A fair amount of our clients use the service to make their connections on time.

>They'll escort you to special fast track lines or simply walk you to the front of the immigrations and customs lines.

Just be careful how you do that. If you are a U.S company the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act may be relevant: https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/foreign-corrupt-pract...


As others have pointed out it seems expensive. Very expensive. But I wonder how you justify the following:

Arrival services in Zurich, 1 person : 645$ ?

I specifically wonder how customers are fast tracked through immmigration, given that Emirates complained that the airport does _not_ offer any fast track immigation counters for their first - and business class customers.

As a matter of fact: There are two types of passport counters: Swiss - and EU countries (including Norway and Iceland) & All others. So how is a "fast track" offering justified and what is contained in such an offer?

Also: Whisking customers through customs at that airport seems a tad, well, marketingish. Given that you usually don't deal with customs at all. You just leave through the green entrance (if you have nothing to declare) and usually just walk out. Sure, a customs agent may check on you, but in that case your helpful solver isn't of much help.

Sorry, but charging 645$ for your services at an airport where your maximum exit time - from the plane to public transport - from a Schengen country is 20 minutes and from a non-Schengen country 40 minutes (add 15 minutes for luggage retrieval) seems breathtakingly expensive. Even for an expensive city like Zurich.

How can you justify such prices?

In Denpasar, Indonesia (the airport for Bali), you could always get through immigration/customs by bribing the immigration officers. Actually, they would come through the lines telling us about their "service" given that they immigration lines were moving so slowly (and I have a feeling, this was by design). With the new airport and more efficient immigration lines, these people have disappeared, however.

I wonder what kind of relationship you need to set up a kind of service that would even allow you to meetup at the arrival gate? Many airports simply have nothing for this beyond VIPs, I can't think of any airport in China that would do this, for example, which is why all the people are holding up signs waiting for their charges outside of customs.

Edit: they seem to offer service at PEK (https://www.solve.com/pricing/pek), but DAMN those prices are sky high (start at $1,690). I guess that answers my question then.

Saw the pricing for bangalore, India. Goodness me. its $290 for 2 persons. this is for meet and assist without fast immigration. just to give perspective, its about $20 for you to get to city from airport for 2 persons (40kms trip). I can say your Bangalore price is really very high. $100 in india can get you done a lot of things.

How are you able to consistently skip the lines in so many countries? I love this idea but my skepticism would prevent me from trying it.

A better explanation might help resolve that. Is it sketchy? does it involves bribes? Is it just a scam? These are the questions that will give your target customers doubts. If I knew it was legit I would always use it.

Same question. AFAIK in the first-world countries I've flown into the line you're put in depends entirely on the passport you hold, and sometimes traveler-specific preregistration programs (e.g. Global Entry in the USA). Are you actually helping people skip lines, or just showing them the right ones to stand in?

Super cool!

Dubai airport has a service called 'marhaba' which basically does this but only in Dubai.

It's great for helping someone who is older or disabled figure out their connecting flights through an airport.

Smart to bring this to more places.

Your pricing is pretty spot on too, it's a bit less expensive than marhaba btw.

    > Smart to bring this to more places.
I would be 90% amazed if they're bringing it to more places, rather than just reselling existing local services.

The key for us is making it more accessible and easy to book. We know that the current space is about to evolve pretty quickly. The current companies and individuals have actually been quite receptive to our approach. They just haven't had access to the tools we're building and the customers we're reaching.

Otherwise, yeah, we want to bring it to more places as we get a better understanding of the demand in places where the service isn't currently offered.

Thanks so much for your feedback! We are seeing a number of clients who simply want a little help getting through the airport, especially on tight connections.

yes I've used Marhaba, they were pretty good.

Like the idea! Especially on airports that are famous for their lines and waiting time (JFK...) winning time at immigration and avoid standing in line for a taxi quickly saves you 2 hours. For the business traveler that is almost 2 extra meetings, and for the family traveler that is 2 hours less stress and crying children.

I registered a domain name a while back 'DeliveryOnArrival.com' with the idea to also accelerate business travel. The plan was that you could travel with less stuff (and therefore could bring only hand luggage) and get what normally use and need delivered on arrival: at the airport gate, in your Uber, in your Hertz rental, or at your hotel. Never executed on it though, maybe a nice add-on service (I would use it).

Thanks for the kind words! Your thoughts are exactly how we're approaching our business. Business travelers, families, the elderly are just a few of the clients that we serve.

As for your baggage idea, check out a company called Dufl http://www.dufl.com/ We've spoken to them and they have an awesome service for not having to deal with your luggage.

I do a lot of international business travel, mostly in business. 3 figures of flights last year. I would use this service, but you're about 2x as expensive as I'd pay for it.

For example, you want £140 for landing at Suvarnabhumi. This gets me Fast Track immigration, but I already get that if I'm landing in business, and help with onwards transportation, but as per most airports, the place is swamped with good quality limo transfers for maybe 2x the price of a regular taxi. So I'd be paying £140 for a cart from deplane to immigration, plus perhaps shortening priority immigration, and help with luggage. That definitely has some value, maybe up to £70, but £140 is way too much.

I also wonder why the prices are largely in the same ballpark irrespective of the airport. This seems a mostly labor intensive offering, and labor costs are much lower in, say, India.

They are reselling local services. The costs are going to be space in the airport + paying for customers to cut queues, which airports will already be selling to airlines. Staff costs will be a minor component, I suspect.

Fair point.

We're definitely working to decrease prices as we grow. Similar to Uber Black when Uber first launched, the goal is to get a base service out in as many airports as possible, then learn and innovate in the industry to help bring prices down and help more people. We've already been able to drastically bring prices down in airports like Johannesburg where the services is now $140 for the first two travlers and $60 per traveler thereafter.

I've been dreaming of a service like this since last year. Im travelling to Malaysia in a couple of weeks from Heathrow and would love to get through security faster. I paid $8 (approx) to get through security faster at Luton airport when i was travelling to Amsterdam and i loved it. But unfortunately such a service is not available at Heathrow unless i buy business class or have an executive club membership.

$225 is rather pricey for me. Its a bit beyond my budget, but id happily pay $60ish to get through security/customs faster on my out to Malaysia from Heathrow if it was possible in anyway. If anyone from Solve is reading this please let me know if you can do something for me?

I just called up Heathrow premium upgrade seevices. They can do the same thing for $140 but when i told them i am travelling economy they told me they couldnt fastrack me at check-in or through security which -- to me -- makes it a complete waste of money.

Services like these with old school companies were/are only available to travelers with airline status or a business or first class ticket. Our mission is to make this available to everyone. We can definitely help in Heathrow even if you're flying economy. Note that pricing gets cheaper the more travelers in your party. Heathrow, for example is $225 for the first 2 travelers and $75 per passenger there after.

Also here's a promo code for 10% for our Hacker News friends: "hnfriends"

Thanks but still beyond my budget. On the offchance that somehow i could afford this are you saying you can guarantee expedited security AND check-in at Heathrow?

With all the stories about US immigration recently, I think what people would pay for is: fast-tracked and friendlier US immigration for international travelers, nothing more, nothing less.

There are some programs to fast-track US immigration here [1], but only from a short list of countries [2].

1: https://www.dhs.gov/trusted-traveler-programs

2: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-...

Hopefully you will have better optimization of providers in the future, allowing for better pricing.

For instance, arriving at SVO (Sheremetevo airport in Russia) you want $735 for meet and greet and transportation help.

Yet local pricing for transportation into Moscow is no more than $75 for the one way trip (SVO is a bit outside of Moscow proper) and, well, very capable translators are available for what, $50/hour or less? I've paid as little as $10/hour, though not at the airport.

SVO already has express lanes IIRC for USA citizens at least. You should either have this info noted or possibly figure out how to integrate this into your service.

Moscow is definitely an outlier. Our services in Johannesburg, for example, are $140 for the first two travelers and $60 thereafter. As we continue to grow, we're pushing our suppliers to bring their prices down and we're deploying our own teams. The problem with airports like Moscow is that they are not doing enough bookings each week to operate at (minimal) scale - so they're up charging the limited amount of business travlers coming into the country that are using the service. Definitely something we're going to change.

I think this can make sense. I recently traveled with a toddler for the first time. I was amazed by how in certain airports (the Asian ones), when they saw I had a toddler, they managed to speed up the process by sending me to other lines. At the same time, in the US they didn't send me to any special line and was horrible. I would have easily paid 200$ to avoid staying in line with a toddler.

The website though seems so vague. It is really hard to understand exactly what I would be paying for. There is a little bit of everything and nothing is very concrete.

Thanks for your feedback. We are working on the language on the website. Believe it or not, our pricing / services page (https://www.solve.com/pricing/) explains this service much better than what's been done in the past, but you're right that there's room for improvement. The next version of the site will be launching this month and is a bit clearer.

That's (a bit) clearer. I hadn't seen that.

I think the entire airport experience is a mess and one of the few things I can think of that's actually worse than 20 yrs ago. If you guys gain deep knowledge about their process and can then make it more efficient via technology, it would be huge.

Good luck.

That's definitely the goal! Thanks for the kind words and we hope we can help you on a service soon!

Suggestion: have the autocomplete on that page default to exact match for the IATA code first. I tried entering SIN and had to scroll through a bunch of other airports first.

Awesome feedback! We're launching a new version of our platform in a week or so and we're fixing a fair amount of the autocomplete and airport/airline search issues.

This is great! This is sort of like how Clear brokers deals with airports to expedite security, except for more interesting and complicated airport processes.

Could have used this coming back from Rome to the United States via Spain. Ended up going through customs 4 times just to make a transfer.

Curious how difficult it was to do this for 500+ airports so quickly, especially since you're a private company and operating beyond security gates in an era of permanently heightened security.

Thanks! You're spot on about the difference between us and Clear. It sounds like you had a tiring customs experience on your trip from Rome to the USA!

It wasn't easy to launch in 500 airports. Through a ton of research and work, we were able to partner with many companies and individuals who had the appropriate access at each airport. The key for us was that we wanted to create the one trusted, consistent place book this service.

What is your opinion of Clear? I just saw it on a recent trip and it seemed like a violation of privacy

Clear is an awesome service, but their strategy/service is a bit different than ours.

We provide you with a dedicated agent/problem solver (pun intended) that takes you from curb to gate and gate to curb. We're also really helpful on international trips where there are language barriers and insanely long immigrations/customs lines.

We also make sure you're safely off in your vehicle when you exit the airport and your'e not getting ripped off on a taxi or car. For example, in places like Mexico City or Beijing you're swarmed by drivers trying to get you in their car as soon as you exit the airport.

What are you using to coordinate with your staff that actually meet customers? Do you have a mobile app or an internal website they use for this?

Same questions for customers: Agents could acknowledge that they are there and waiting (with the customer's desired name/special request). It could also function as a customer support interface as well as providing the support phone number.

This seems like it would be very attractive for business-to-business with traveling employees as well.

Good luck!

Communication with everyone involved has been a pain point for us, even as we've thrown technology at the problem. Right now, we're of course communicating with our agents via email, phone, and text to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Plus, our clients have the agent's information and the agents have our client's information, so they can communicate directly if necessary. In the near future, the client and the agent will have a Lyft-like experience on arrival or departure, where our agent sees the customer information on their agent app, and the customer sees the agent information on their customer app. This will be a massive improvement to the industry.

Thanks for your feedback/questions!

> In the near future, the client and the agent will have a Lyft-like experience on arrival or departure, where our agent sees the customer information on their agent app, and the customer sees the agent information on their customer app.

That's not going to happen without a data connection on the customer's phone though, which means either expensive roaming, buying a SIM card before they meet the agent, or fighting through crappy airport Wi-Fi sign-up pages. You could potentially partner with the airport Wi-Fi and have your application authenticate them to the Wi-Fi network automatically though. Do you have any other thoughts on how to solve the data problem?

True - it won't work in every situation. We're planning to communicate similarly to how Airbnb communicates when a host gets a booking - push notification, text message, and email at all once. In the cases where someone doesn't have data, they often are still able to receive texts (not always).

Either way, we already over-communicate to the client to make sure they know what to do. Eventually, the agent's app will be helpful too, so the agent can recognize the client if the client uploads their photo to our system.

Your idea about Wi-Fi is certainly something to explore as well.

To HN readers complaining about pricing: You Are Not The Target Audience. At least unless you (or your employer) are willing to pay $2000 extra to fly BER-SFO first class to get an extra few hours of sleep on your way to a high-value meeting.

To co-founders: I hope you know this as well! Keep pricing in a way that shows you understand your target market.

I guess the thing is that if you are flying first or business you already get a card that lets you use the express immigration counter so you might not really need this anyway.

Instead of personal attention, what if there were a kiosk in every (or many) airports, like a RedBox, where you could get your tickets, SIM card, or whatever predictably before arriving? Or perhaps even a locker where someone gets all your things and puts them in the locker for you for when you arrive? That might keep the costs down.

I wouldn't use language like "Quick Quote" - I associate "quote" with "We'll call you back on the phone in a few hours or days". Just write "Pricing", etc.

So what assets do you have on the ground at each airport you serve? Do you really have offices at all those locations? Or are you just a booking agent for the companies with those shady-looking web sites?

We've basically partnered with the best suppliers at each airport. There are often 2-3 companies at each airport that do this and 2 of them are terrible and 1 is really good. We've worked really hard to vet ever single supplier to make sure there is consistency and reliability on every service.

This sounds awesome. I've never heard of you.

I commute internationally for work, but I've bookmarked you then to try out the next time I hit an unfamiliar airport.

That sounds awesome, we're excited to help! Please use promo code "hnfriends" for 10% off your booking!

Great idea! And btw that is a killer company name and domain!

Yeah and I agree pricing should be lower. As you said, some Airports offer this: at Frankfurt Airport in Germany they pick you up with a Bentley...http://vip.frankfurt-airport.com/en/

Guys - this is way better than the crappy concierge service that many credit card companies offer. I got a bad experience with DBS Treasures. I'm wondering how you guys will compete or complement TSA pre-check or other comparable services, for example the premium immigration service at LGW that can be purchased for 10 GBP.

Love your thoughts, and appreciate the kind words. We actually see ourselves complimentary to services like TSA pre-check. Nowadays so many people have TSA pre-check that you're still waiting in line. Our agent will meet you curbside, hand you your ticket or help you check in, walk you to the FRONT of the pre-check or even the first class line (United Premiere's First Class Line at JFK is still a nightmare) and make sure you get on your aircraft safely. So it's a true end to end concierge service.

This could work when my non English speaking parents visit my brother in US. Also there are quite a few travel packages that non English people travel on. Its a very useful solution for such groups. I am not sure how big market you are targeting though. It could be big if you look internationally. All the best

Where are you seeing (your own comprehensive market research?) that there's an actual demand for this? I'm very curious as wanting a service like this seems like such an odd desire to me. Traveling is cumbersome at times, but those that do it often often have it down to a science themselves.

This type of service has actually existed for about 20 - 30 years and a decent number of people use it, but there's never been 1) an easy way to book it and 2) price transparency. We've solved those two issues and we believe many more people will book the service once they're aware of it. Plus, frequent travelers want to move quickly and safely and we help make that happen.

On the topic of price transparency, can you discuss the breakdown of the pricing between different airports? I've traveled enough that I'm not particularly interested in anything besides expedited immigration, and I can totally accept that it's expensive to get a person past security and buy you into the line, but I'm confused about the difference in pricing for, e.g., LHR, where $220 gets you fast tracked, and SFO, where $375 doesn't.

That totally makes sense. Right now, we're working with a fair amount of fragmented suppliers. At airports with higher demand, we're able to decrease pricing due to scale.

As for places like SFO - in the US in general (Miami and JFK airport being the exceptions), no company has access to meet clients at the gate for international arrivals, so this service isn't as in demand.

We're also still working on crafting our wording and how to pitch the value props to our clients.

For airports where it says does not include fast track immigrations/customs (except for the US), we usually have an expedited immigrations/customs. Another agent will go stand in line a head of time and you can cut in with them, or they'll know the immigration officer and simply walk you to the front. It's true for all airports we service except for the US airports.

Is it true for DEL?

Just wondering if there is any backstory to the name 'solve'? Congrats on the launch

We consider our Solve agents your personal "problem Solvers". The service isn't just about getting through immigrations and customs quickly, it's more about making sure you don't have to worry or stress at all which is why we went with the name Solve :)

I like this and will be exploring it when my travel picks up again. Have you posted this in the forums at FlyerTalk? Highly engaged community that features lots of premium flyers and will give candid feedback as well.

That's awesome to hear, feel free to use promo code "hnfriends" for 10% off your booking. Awesome advice in regards to FlyerTalk. We're actually chatting with them now and are hoping to get something up soon!

How about a service for muslims or non-white people arriving in the USA.

This looks great, will definitely try it out next time I travel. Looks like there is no fast tracking immigration/customs for US airports though? Any plans to add this in the future?

That's great to hear! We'd love to help. Please use promo code "hnfriends" for 10% off of your booking :)

As for fast track immigrations/customs in the US, we're only able to help in some cases at JFK and MIA. Basically no company has access to meet travelers at their gate in the US. We're working to make this happen though, and there are pilot programs at a few airports coming later this year!

DXB Dubai offers a similar service called Marhaba, they were great, even waiting for a long time until a lost baggage dispute was resolved

I must say the logo resembles Tomatoes[0] productivity app logo very much.

[0] http://tomato.es

Thanks for your feedback. I definitely see the similarity with the check mark, but it wasn't on purpose.

Can you eloborate on what "fast track immigration" means? How can you get your customers faster through immigration?

Exactly what tintor is saying. We have access to special lanes including fast track lines, pilot/crew lanes, or the diplomat lines. In other cases, our agents are able to simply walk travels to the front of the immigrations/customs lines.

Wow, how did you do that? Do you have deals with every airport, and part of the cost is paying for the faster line?

I've been through a priority queue in business class, but this sounds like a much cheaper option if you just want to fly economy. I will definitely try this out on my next trip.

Did not really think about this before, but if airlines are able to purchase this service for their business class customers, then other companies can certainly do it as well. For example Norwegian has an option to purchase access to priority security check on certain airports in their mobile app.

Actually a bigger business opportunity might be to sell the "pass the queues" access on the fly (without pre-booking). In most cases I would be a bit hesitant to spend money on these in advance, but if things don't go as planned I might be interested in paying to speed things up.

Probably using a separate no-line immigration counter for Business / First / crew.

The value-add over the $95/5 years of Global Entry doesn't seem to warrant the price.

Global Entry is a service that only works in the US, and it doesn't include a dedicated agent meeting you at the gate, luggage assistance, or assistance booking/finding your car.

We help with fast track immigrations and customs and safety when traveling international. On my last international flight, I landed and a guy grabbed my bag and started walking off yelling "fast track" hoping for a tip. If I wasn't already used to this is would've been alarming. Our mission is not just the speed of immigrations/customs but comfort and a hassle free experience when you travel.

quick review. im arriving in vegas in a couple hours so i thought id check it out.

after signing up, i'm asked to enter my flight details, which goes reasonably well until you ask for the record locator number, which is required. I have no clue what a record locator number is or where to find it, so that's as far as I got into the booking process. I literally can't continue right now, and at this point, the potentially helpful intercom is gone.

the price for Vegas would have been §305, which sounds incredibly expensive. I don't really get why the pricing is different for different airports, other than the fact that you want to fleece people for as much as possible. At least feels that way.

In order to fully take advantage of your service, I'd need to book it for both airports. That puts the price in the $500 range, which effectively doubles the price of the ticket for economy class flights. For business class flights, we are still talking about roughly 25% of the ticket, or 125% total.

Thats incredibly expensive and I dont really get the value proposition. If I travel for fun, I go through customs which takes an hour at the worst and then I walk out the hall, press a button on my app and an uber picks me up. I dont see how you can possibly speed that up. Even if you could cut out the whole customs process entirely, which I doubt is possible (picking up the luggage is the time intensive part), it would not be worth it.

If I travel for business, whatever I do at the airport amounts to a billable hour so I dont REALLY care either.

For reference, I make $20-$30k a month all things considered. I feel its expensive. Based on the value offered, I wouldnt book it. Maybe I lack a really annoying flight experience.

Now, you could argue that I'm not your target customer, which is fair. I get that there are people who make more money. But. My girlfriend happens to be wealthy. She takes advantage of services like yours. But she would never visit some random website to book that off of. When she travels, she gets picked up at home and then a whole bunch of things happen that go beyond what you offer and its being taken care of by her credit card company. At the airport, she's handed off to the priority check-in line of her favourite expensive airline and then its off to the business lounge where some concierge takes care of anything that could potentially bother her.

I'm sure that this may be more expensive than your service, but she doesnt care. Its just a line item on the credit card bill that shes not even going to look at. If you want to compete with that, go super high-end and somehow make it really easy to book. btw, she wouldn't know her locator number thingie, either.

If you want to just do the thing you do, I believe it needs to be cheaper. Or at least make the pricing consistent so that I dont feel like I'm getting fucked for flying into vegas.

If it's possible to pay more to avoid the hassle that the other 99% have to deal with, then there is even less incentive for elites to rein in the unnecessary hassle.

I'm sure the 1% will love it, but due to the political calculus, your success will make the world a worse place.

We definitely want to make this type of service available to more people in the long term and we believe that increased awareness/volume will help make that happen. TSA Precheck has been helpful to the masses within the USA, and perhaps we'll head down a similar path internationally. Airports in general haven't been very technologically-focused and even at this early stage, we're seeing an opportunity to help airports improve.

I think you missed the point being made. TSA Precheck has not made things helpful. It has merely allowed people of means to return to the status quo ante before TSA existed. It has come at the cost of less freedom and a lowering if expectations on how government should treat people without means.

The real elites fly on their own planes, are met on the tarmac by immigration/customs, and probably never have to step foot inside a terminal with everyone else.

There are more than two layers to society.

$540.00 to land at YYZ for a glorified bag carrier? What is this?

p.s. solve isnt a great domain I hope you change it, something like traveller.com

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