A new website has come to the UK promising “realtime” searches of available flights from major airlines.
Fly.com has previously been available abroad, but has entered the UK flight search market today, and how it differs from other similar sites is that it claims to use “meta-data” to deliver the latest and most competitive prices, without returning out-of-date or unavailable flights.
Flights displayed are “live and accurate” according to Fly.com, thus avoiding the frustration of clicking through to find that prices are no longer available.
From an appearance perspective, Fly.com is very much stripped down to the bare essentials (the temptation is to say “Google-like”, although whether it can be the Google of flight searches remains to be seen), with the focus on the two to and from destination fields, which help you out with airport suggestions, together with a helpful little flag icon, and then pick the dates you wish to fly.
Following a search for flights between London Heathrow and New York, the results were returned in a surprisingly quick time, considering each search is essentially having to go off and check the latest data. I was also surprised by the number of results it returned: over 2000 for this search. You can narrow down the number of results with quite a few different filters, such as price (essential!), flight times and airline.
As Fly.com isn’t a booking engine, when you’ve got your results, you then have to go off to the airline’s site to make your booking. It’s a similar model to that employed by the likes of MoneySupermarket for their financial product comparisons – Fly.com wll be paid for click-throughs and possibly commission from sales made
Aaron Ritoper, the vice president of Business Development for Fly.com Europe said:
“Fly.com is the next generation of flight comparison site. Our mission is to simplify flight search in the UK and to provide exceptional service in every market in which we operate.
“In a recent study we found that people spend an average 2.6 hours and check 4 different sites when booking a flight. We believe this is because there is so much misinformation out there and the prices offered on many sites are often no longer available when it comes time to book.
“Our results are updated upon every new search, so our users get real prices and availability. This means they don’t have to spend hours comparing flight prices and will not experience the frustration of clicking through on a price and discovering that it is not really there.”
As I mentioned above, it feels a little like Fly.com is aiming to be the Google of flight search, and certainly the initial feeling is that they’ve developed a very nice tool, but it will live or die on the quality of the results.
Because of the (assumed) business model, they will probably need to ensure high volumes of users to sustain the site, so they’d do well to build up their brand and ensure they have a good SEO and pay-per-click strategy.
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