|About 3 years ago, I started work on FlightM8. For reasons that I'll simply refer to as "life falling apart" I stopped working on it. However, seeing Google Flights launch yesterday re-piqued my interest in it and I'm wondering wether I should pick it up again. So what is FlightM8?|
Firstly, it's an Alpha. The data is out of date, and it's buggy. It's also on shared hosting so it may well buckle under pressure at the moment.
Here's the URL for the impatient: http://flightm8.tomelders.com/
Secondly: Here's what it does...
In a nutshell, FlightM8 tells you "who flies where". Let's say you're in London. Your boss calls and says you have to meet with Diesel Jeans on Monday. They're a big new client and they're in Bassano Del Grappa, Italy. The rest is up to you to figure out. So... How do you get from London to Bassano Del Grappa?
Well, London is pretty easy for anyone who knows it. You have Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stanstead, London City airports to choose from.
Bassano del Grappa?, not so easy. First of all, where the hell is it? When you eventually find it, you realise it doesn't have an airport. Here's where FlightM8 starts being useful. Search for Bassano del Grappa and you'll see that it's served by 3 airports, all within a reasonable distance. Venice Marco Polo, Venice Treviso, Verona Villa Franca.
There's not a flight search engine that I know of that would group those airports together.
Ok, so who flies to those places? This is what flightm8 was built to do. For a combination of routes you have a choice of... Ryanair, Easyjet, Air Berlin, Germanwings, British Airways, Monarch Airlines and BMI.
I'm willing to gamble you've never heard of at least two of those airlines. And two of those airlines (Easyjet, Ryanair) do not show up on flight search websites. (A quick aside, there used to be a bunch of other budget airlines in Europe that you've probably never heard of, but a lot of them went bust in the recession)
The aim is to help you 'start' your search for flights. I started work on it out of necessity because I was flying all over europe and wasting a lot of money on flights, only to be told by a local that I could have flown to an airport I've never heard of, with an airline I've never heard of for half the money.
When I heard Google had bought IATA, I secretly hoped they'd release some sort of API. I doubt that's going to happen, which makes listing prices and times of flight near impossible in terms of cost.
But here's the question: Is FlightM8 useful? Should I resume working on it?