By Carissa Bluestone
Do a flight search on websites Hipmunk or Superfly and, essentially, you get the same information that’s available from Expedia or Kayak. But both of these buzzed-about relative newcomers are tweaking the familiar flight-search formats to make them more user-friendly and customizable.
The strengths of Hipmunk—beyond an adorable logo and name—are its clean, no-fuss (and ad-free) design and a sophisticated understanding of how travellers size up flights. All the info you need to quickly compare your options are laid out on a single screen in an easy-to-digest chart, showing the best airfare deals (the worst ones are omitted), whether onboard Wi-Fi is available, and the locations of stopovers.
Tabs let you to rearrange the list by price, departure or arrival times, duration, or “agony,” which weighs low prices with tolerable itineraries. The streamlined interface is particularly valuable for the app version (iPhone, iPad, Android).
If you’re juggling a lot of programs, this is a great way to easily compare the true value of flights from multiple airlines. There’s no app yet, but it’s a fairly new start-up, so we’re bound to see one eventually.
On either site, once you’ve found your ideal flight, you can follow links to book through the supplier that’s listing the fare, whether it’s the airline or a third-party site like Orbitz, or simply use the info to keep shopping—the Hipmunk app lets you e-mail the flight details.
Something to keep in mind, however, is that while these search engines are a great place to start your search to sort flight results, in Canada you could get a slightly better deal by booking your flight directly with the airline.