This still drives me nuts. If I'm at home in Berlin and have a meeting in in central London, I don't want to have to figure out that if I fly from one of the two airports in Berlin to one of the four airports around London that I'll have to use these kinds of busses and trains or taxis or rent a car and have to sort all of that out myself.
I want to know how to get there door to door, and I'll pay a decent premium to have it all put in front of me where I can buy my tickets all in one go. I hate travel booking because it seems to be without fail a minimum 2 hour exercise sorting out the options and picking one.
Back in the day I had a go-to travel agent for such. Unfortunately finding a good travel agent often requires checking out 10-15 of them and I've been too lazy for that as well since recent moves.
Blog post on this a while back: http://scotchi.net/2009/09/what-i-hate-about-booking-travel-...
As to loumf's concern, once I trusted the site (say, after getting one booking commission free), I'd have no problem with the details not being revealed to me as to flight numbers / lines, details of public transit, etc. until I'd purchased. But I'm not sure you'd need that if the commissions are reasonable; I'm willing to pay to have my planning simplified.
If I know exact dates, places, etc -- travel booking isn't hard enough to pay much for. The problem is, you go book it somewhere else when you have the info, so you have to go after affiliate fees and be as good at the booking as you are at the advice.
Do a search and then View Flights - Graphical. It's excellent and has been my preferred way to find flights for ages.
It's nice to see that someone who might actually care about marketing is offering the same useful tool!
The new Matrix (http://matrix.itasoftware.com/) has the color bar functionality, too, but looks a littler friendlier! When you search, click "time bars" on the right below the carrier matrix. It was one of the most-requested features.
- after doing a YYC to YVR search and getting the result, clicking on a price brings up a blank screen, is that a bug? Clicking on the airline shows results.
- the iPhone version doesn't seem to have the same flexible dates option as the website search, is this going to be added?
Why did I not know of this website? You don't even seem to have a front page, on the link another person posted, yet when I tried your link it is easily and by far the best fare search engine I've seen. All the others are bloated, slow and plastered with ads.
Who has been doing your marketing?
Why not just partner with a travel agency and make life easier for people?
I think Hipmunk is facing an uphill battle. I don't want to be a naysayer because I want them to do well (and thereby have more choices), but ITA spent years and years to get the kind of buyout they're getting now.
And matrix.itasoftware.com is indeed awesome-the query language lets you do incredibly useful stuff you cant to anywhere else. The hard part is then twisting the arm of orbitz/travelocity/etc to get you to book the exact same flights.
I've got a very different travel idea, and would love to be able to try it out, and send everyone to Orbitz to book it if they end up finding what they want on my site.
But without the data it is very hard to experiment in making a better travel site.
For bootstrapping a travel search product, you're best to get busy building crawlers to scrape airline websites directly.
* Flexible dates. Sometimes I have a day or 2 of leeway, and it's often a lot cheaper to fly one day different.
* Flexible airports. I live roughly equidistant from 2 airports, and Stanford also has 2 reasonable airports to use.
Something else interesting I noticed is that it seems to also return results for Amtrak.
I imagine a lot of people want to make sites like this, but they don't have the resources to obtain contracts for data feeds.
Much like many people would like to open up streaming sites for Big Label music, but not everybody can afford to enter into contracts with music labels then have hundreds of HDs full of wav files delivered to them.
We need someone to make a pay-per-taste brokered data market.
Basically, getting the raw data is quite difficult, but once you have it, you need to expend a really enormous quantity of engineering work into using that data to get useful answers.
For example, ITA invented a language to describe taxes. That's because the tax code changes all the time and is incredibly complex. There are fares which different entities in the airline industry price differently due to tax code ambiguities. The search problem is really very hard once you have the data.
Now, ITA software does offer their flight search engine as a service: you sign a contract with them and issue queries and they send you responses. I don't know how interested they are in cutting deals with really tiny startups, but they might be amenable. You will of course have to pay in some fashion: maybe a fixed fee per query or pay per compute time or pay per successful booking.
At the time I left the travel agency in question, Galileo was in the process of rolling out a new version of the API, but the few times I tried to get it to work, it seemed completely broken (this was for cruises, not flights, but it was the same general idea).
It seems to be including Amtrak results in there too, which makes for a nice comparison.
- "Hipmunk?" I don't get it. Why not tripmunk?
- I like the visualization and the "agony" sort. Pretty cool
- Is the plan to book the trip directly on the site eventually. Once I got to the end, I thought "Why don't I just go to Orbitz next time if that's where I end up anyway?"
Derived from chipmunk, I presume.
Tripmunk would've been better though.
Crunchbase profile: http://www.crunchbase.com/company/hipmunk
Launch announcement: http://blog.hipmunk.com/hipmunk-launches
-Sorting by "Agony" is a brilliant decision. It seems to take into account time spent traveling and cost, which leaves me with a few easy choices to make (spend 20 bucks more, save an hour) instead of a million tiny choices to make.
-I love that the prices seem to take into account taxes and fees without any trouble. I see $550 on Hipmonk, click "buy," and then see $550 on Orbitz.
-It looks nice and performs excellently.
I wonder if seeing data in this format will cause airlines to differently optimize their fare schedule. Obviously I don't have the knowledge of the data to answer this, but my gut feeling is that more people selecting flights based on travel time might lead airlines to find ways to reduce travel time. Wouldn't that be sweet.
Calendar for input of depart and return was a bit confusing at first.
Being able to adjust the day would be a nice feature, would be cool to be able to drag a time slot around to see if there is anything better a day later or a day earlier. Perhaps being able to compare days side by side would be nice.
Overall though, it's pretty awesome. Only thing I've seen that comes close is Kayak.
What I would like to see is something that ITA has already, which is see cheapest fares by month. I'd also love to see all the weird fares that FlyerTalk people have. Also, US Centric sites: the pricing information for inter europe or asia flights is dismal! Dismal!
I disagree. I think there are several different groups of people that search for flights and each of them wants to see their results in a different way. I think the other flight search engines (especially Kayak) meet most of their needs quite well. It's great to see another view into this data, but I don't think it's the only way I will want to view it.
When I search for a flight, the only factor I care about is price. I don't care when it leaves, how long it takes to get there, what airline it is: I want it to be the cheapest it can possibly be. When prices are close, I'll sometimes care about airline (I really on't like to fly AirTran for example).
I think Hipmunk's view into the data is perfect for someone that cares about the time spent in flight, layovers and which part of the day they're flying. These people are usually business-people who have money, so it's probably a perfect market to shoot for :).
You may not, but there are others that definitely do
We've never claimed connections are the most important part. That's probably the most common misconception about YC, and one we try actively to dispel, among other places on the page linked to above.
If you are in the YC program, you have different milestones to achieve by certain dates.
For me, it's like training to be able to run long-distance. Best way to motivate yourself is by actually entering in a marathon race.
There probably is some loyalty there, but that's largely due to your prior success in getting Reddit launched. If you hadn't been helpful, someone would likely pursue other options.
I tried VCE to PDX in October, and it seemed to do pretty well, although I'd appreciate it if it gave me more information on how to get a cheaper flight, if changing the dates would help at all.
Of course, that SEO part is going to be pretty expensive for them to compete in the travel space.
Traffic from brand can be better than traffic from SEO in some cases. You have to spend money, but it's under your control.
Is this normal?
I've got a technology that I think would be applicable. Be happy to hand off any booking to the data provider... but just need to be able to get to the raw data.
This wouldn't compete with hipmunk, it is a different idea in the travel space.
Just trying to find someone to supply data seems impossible.