Product 360: WhichAirline: Visual Meta-Search Provider In Airline Industry
Travel reservation engines are turning more visual. The entire shopping and booking experience is made visually appealing by travel players like Hipmunk in hotel sector and QuickAirLink in flight sector. An addition to visual flight search provider is – WhichAirline, a company that searches 100,000 airline routes and offers cheap flight search results in an innovative display.
WhichAirline, formerly known as FlyLowCostAirlines a meta-search engine company that displays visually meaningful search results. With their search result display, a traveler will get visual information about the duration of flight and stopovers.
An interesting feature in the search result is – WhichAirline draws what they call as ‘Quality Line’ in search result display; they display the best value airline (both from fare and duration standpoint) above this Quality Line; airlines that have long duration AND stopover delays AND high price will be displayed below the Quality Line. Refer screen below where WhichAirline marks 1 airline below the Quality Line.
After clicking on ‘Show 1 worse flights’, WhichAirline displayed US Airways.
Reason: The entire duration of this US Airways flight from ORD to LHR is ~12 hours, it has a stopover ~2 hours and the fare of $3538 is the highest among all flights displayed. As a matter of fact, there are other flight options displayed in search result that are ~8 hours in duration with price point of ~$2600.
The Quality Line display works pretty well, a much needed feature.
After selecting a flight, user is directed to the corresponding website to complete the reservation (say LastMinute or eBookers etc).
WhichAirline also providers the functionality to book hotels (that gets directed to Booking.com) and Car Hite (directed to CarTrawler.com).
Apart from meta-search service, WhichAirline also provides detailed information on almost all airlines and airports in the world. Various details displayed about an airline are – Hubs, various destinations covered, frequent flyer program, fleet details, onboard refreshments, baggage policy, awards, competitors, routes covered, contact details, payment options, checkin facilities, photos, news and tweets. The list is really comprehensive.
In the Airline and Airport (information) section, a widget that we liked the most is the vertically scrolling widget that you in screen below. Very smooth, neatly done and solves the purpose. We recommend readers to experience this widget.
Summary – What really stands out:
- Visual search result – smooth, easily understandable, solves the purpose. An enhancement could be: If a user mouseovers on a flight bar, in addition to displaying the duration, details like baggage policy, previous and next day price, number of seats left can also be displayed. These critical details could foster the conversion.
- Rich (and correct) information - The level of detail provided about an airline / airport is commendable. An example: We navigated to Airports -> selected Bangalore International Airport -> Navigated to Taxi section -> the local taxi service provider names were listed along with their phone numbers (correct).