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The First People-Powered Flight Search Engine

Budget Travel
by Candice Walsh Mar 4, 2012
The search engine for people who don’t trust search engines.

I DO NOT ENJOY travel hacking. I keep reading newsletters and websites about how to maximize frequent flyer miles and make the most out of loyalty programs, but I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s like a fine science.

I’m also kinda like one of those old ladies who doesn’t trust technology and thinks things work best when they have that little personal touch. Like, you know, a human customer service rep rather than an automated voice on the telephone.

So I was pretty stoked to hear about Flightfox, a flight search engine that lets you crowd-source your international and multi-city flights.

Here’s how it works:

  1. To find a flight, you start a “Contest,” where you place a $29 finder’s fee.
  2. Experienced travel hackers compete to find you the best flight deal within three days.
  3. After the time is up, you select the best deal and award the finder the $29.
  4. The details are given and you claim your flight.

The biggest appeal here: you can include any “restrictions” or “flexibility” you need taken into consideration. Your hacker’s got your back.

I decided to test run the site and search for a return flight from St. John’s to Athens, for late September 2012 – December 2012. I ended up with four different options, ranging from $1121 to $1287, which gave me a savings of $166. The best option also only had two stops rather than three…and that’s a pretty big deal for my whereabouts in the world.

I even chatted with the delightful hacker, and maybe hit on him a little to encourage his progress.

According to the site, users average 27% in savings. While I didn’t get massive deals like some other folks (I’ve seen savings up to 74%), I did get peace of mind knowing that all my options were explored. Plus, it’s pretty nifty for people who have extremely flexible itineraries, as it gives hackers more room to find crazy deals.

Likes: No ad clutter, easy to use, quick signup.

Dislikes: I wish I had more folks competing for my finder’s fee. However, Flightfox is growing and in need of more hackers, so if you’re travel savvy, I suggest you sign up.

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