kottke.org posts about flyspy

FareCastJun 13 2006

A few months ago, I took a look at FlySpy, a site that will help people buy the lowest priced airplane ticket for a given destination. It was a good step in the right direction, but I wanted more:

The killer airline reservation app that I've been wanting for several years would tell you when to buy your ticket for a particular flight. Airlines update their fares several times a day and hundreds of times over the course of a month. Depending on when you buy, it might cost you $250 or $620 for the same exact ticket.

A new site called FareCast does exactly that. It shows you the price history of a particular ticket and tells you what the price forecast is...if the price is trending up/down, how much confidence they have in that prediction, and whether you should buy your ticket now or not. FareCast also shows you price differences based on time of day, so if you've got a flexible schedule, you can fly in the cheap early afternoon rather than the expensive early morning.

The site's currently in a closed beta, the data is restricted to outgoing flights from Boston and Seattle, and they've got a challenging data-mining problem ahead of them, but the early offerings are quite impressive, helpful, and promising.

If you'd like to try it out, I'm giving away 10 invites to the FareCast beta...but you're going to have to work for it a little bit. Email me a link/article/site that you think I would find interesting/relevant enough to post on kottke.org *and* that I haven't seen before. I'll pick the 10 best and give out the invites accordingly. Be sure to send me the email address you'd like to be invited at if it's different from the one you're using to email me. Thx everyone...all the invites have been given out; if you got one, you'll be receiving your invite soon.

Cheaper airline ticketsFeb 23 2006

TechCrunch reports on FlySpy, a site that will help people buy the lowest priced airplane ticket for a given destination:

The way it works is that I give it a departure city and a destination city and optionally a departure date and length of stay. The search result, which returns very quickly, will present me with a graph of flight prices over the next 30 days so that I can quickly look at which days are the cheapest to fly. To book a flight I just click on the point in the graph. Simple.

That's a pretty useful UI innovation (especially if you're able to drill down into individual days to find the lowest fare on that day), but it doesn't help you much if your travel dates are inflexible. The killer airline reservation app that I've been wanting for several years would tell you when to buy your ticket for a particular flight. Airlines update their fares several times a day and hundreds of times over the course of a month. Depending on when you buy, it might cost you $250 or $620 for the same exact ticket.

What this hypothetical app would do is track fare histories and then release forecasts based on those histories. If you want a RT to SFO from JFK on 4/12/06 returning 4/17/06, the site would tell you to buy your ticket three weeks out or when the price hits $298, whichever comes first, but to never wait until the week before, when similar flights begin to sell out.

A thornier problem than the one FlySpy addresses, but it could save people a lot of money. (This would work for hotels and rental cars as well probably, although I don't think their prices fluctuate as much.)

Tags related to flyspy:
travel

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