Publicly traded travel site Travelzoo has launched the beta version of its new comprehensive airfare search engine, Fly.com. At first glance, Fly.com is a Kayak-look alike (except that Fly.com searches are limited to airfares only). The two sites offer virtually the same search options, except that Fly.com’s price comparison sites are limited to Priceline and Hotwire, whereas Kayak offers comparison searches on Priceline, Hotwire, Expedia, Travelocity and Airfare.com
What differentiates Fly.com from Kayak is the way in which a user can see the listed flight information. Fly.com includes a summary view, where each airline’s lowest and highest prices is listed. The user can then click on the airline to see the flight times and ranges. Also, the user can see the economy, business and first-class prices in one search. And Fly.com’s results include “Why Me?” boxes, which inform travelers about amenities on a specific route or airline. For example, a “Why Me?” box attached to Virgin Airlines informs the user about Virgin’s in-flight entertainment options. While some of these may be innovative, it’s doubtful that these differentiators will be enough to drive people away from a more comprehensive site, like Kayak, where a user can also search for rental cars, hotels and package vacations. That said, Fly.com does seem to have at least a few advantages – for one the site lists American Airlines flight options,
whereas the airline company ditched its listings on Kayak. Update: American actually returned to Kayak in October.
Travelzoo created buzz around its $1.8 million purchase of the domain “Fly.com” in January. Undoubtedly, Fly.com is a highly desirable domain name, but history has dictated that success does not necessarily correlate with a good name (just take a look at the Pets.com fiasco). Hopefully, Fly.com can figure out a way to truly stand out in the sea of travel search engines.