New Travel Search Engine Adds Big Value to Airfare Searches
Last week marked the debut of InsideTrip.com, a new breed of airfare meta search engine.
Kayak and other legacy search engines are perfectly capable of coming up with comparative air fares, but the well-laid out, graphics-driven insideTrip.com takes the search experience to a new level.
It evaluates an airline's itinerary and scores it, assigning it a "Trip Quality" rating based on 12 factors including aircraft age, on-time stats, lost bags rank, leg room, connect times, etc., grouped under speed, comfort and ease.
CEO and Founder, David Pelter, with whom I test drove the site, says the company's software and relational data base then overlay these ""quality criteria" against a real time booking option and display the results graphically next to the price.
For example, my Boston to San Francisco trip in June listed multiple airlines and prices. However, it also assigned each itinerary a score.
United Airlines ($372) ranked an 83 in overall trip quality, but an American Airlines itinerary for a few bucks less had a Trip Quality rank of 62.
The American flight had a three hour and 40 minute connect time; ranked 11th for lost bags among the top twenty airlines; there was an inch or so less leg room. Also, the fleet was 8.1 years, in contrast to the 1.8 years for the United aircraft.
This data is conveniently and graphically posted next to the flight options. Pelter says his site also gives travelers a chance to know the real price of their ticket, a very crucial function since the real price of a ticket is buried beneath layers of fees and taxes.
To calculate fares with expected fees for my United flight, I indicated I had one checked bag, wanted one soft drink and two alcoholic drinks.
InsideTrip did the math.
My bag costs $50. The soft drinks were free. The alcoholic drinks set me back $35, so the $372 quickly became $458.
And that's good to know before I go.
The site books in real time through Orbitz and American Airlines. I questioned if the quality ratings would be would biased in favor of American, until I saw that AA did no better, and in some cases worse in the ratings.
InsideTrip has grasped the psychology of social networking sites by going beyond providing basic search engine data, and adding value and transparency to airline searches while creating more comfort for bookers and lookers.
How useful will InsideTrip.com be for you?