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Easier, More Streamlined Flight Searches with Hipmunk and Superfly

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.

Streamlined Hipmunk (top) versus cluttered Kayak.

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).

Superfly is closer to Expedia and Kayak in layout than Hipmunk—though its list-style format is still more attractive than either. But it has a unique hook: It allows frequent fliers to compare options based on deals they would receive from their rewards programs. (You must create an account and give Superfly access to your rewards programs accounts—admittedly a little scary, though the privacy policy on the site swears this info is not used by or sold to third parties.)

Hipmunk iPhone app

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.

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