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March 4, 2008

New flight aggregator helps you customize your search

Ever cram into a packed flight or lose your luggage and wonder whether the next flight out—the one that you didn’t take—would’ve served the same fate?

I’m no psychic, but the new website InsideTrip.com gives travelers the type of knowledge upfront that might help avoid some of those hassles.

Newly launched today, InsideTrip was founded on the idea that travelers start with as much aircraft and airport info as possible, so they can choose (or avoid) as they like. Rather than giving travelers data that’s limited to price and departure time, the site fine-tunes the flight options with 12 self-described “pain points:”

• Speed (number of stops, travel duration, on-time status, security wait time)
• Comfort (legroom, aircraft type, aircraft age, percentage of seats filled)
• Ease (connect time, routing, lost bags, gate location)

What the website user ends up with is a slew of data, ranging from individual ratings per each point, to an overall TripQuality score. What’s nifty is that it’s also customizable. If you don’t really care much about the aircraft type, but you’ve had one too many lost bags, you can check and uncheck the boxes to custom-design your search. Doing that automatically changes the TripQuality score.

I tested out the site with a request for a San Francisco-Bangkok flight. There was one stand-out cheap fare ($987) but it rated 66 (out of 100). I opened up the details to find out why: one leg had poor on-time stats (48% of the time), another had a lengthy distance to the gate (via bus/train), and I would have a long stopover both ways.

For $37 more, I had a selection of four flights, whose TripQuality scores ranged from 73 to 78. Unfortunately, I saw that all four shared flights that tended to be full, but I’d probably shell out the few extra dollars for the one with a 78 score to shave off two hours from each stopover.

The extra bit of info is helpful, but I’d also like the data to be pulled from more than one source (currently only Orbitz). I ran the same search on Kayak.com and found flights for $935, $977, and $981—all with multiple departure options.

Other things that could be improved as the site evolves: rate aircraft age more on individual flights, and not on general carrier information. And InsideTrip also has yet to gather security wait times and lost luggage data for international flights.

Posted by | Comments (1) 
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind


One Response to “New flight aggregator helps you customize your search”

  1. ucme Says:

    Hi,
    What are the best travel search aggregator that you can recommend?

    http://www.ucme.se

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