Hipmunk is one of those things that sells itself. You look at it side-by-side with the alternative ways to search for airline travel and it’s a joke. And that’s exactly why it’s so awesome that they’ve been able to translate that experience over to the iPhone — and perhaps make it even a little easier.
If you’ve used Hipmunk on the web, you’ll know the drill: You enter a “From”, you enter a “To”, you enter the “Dates”. And then, if applicable, you change the “Fare Type” and “People”, and you’re set. Hipmunk does the rest for you, combing over the listings they have to find you the best flights sorted by “Agony”, “Cost”, “Depart”, or “Length”. It really couldn’t be an easier.
What’s nice is that the flight results pages on the iPhone maintain the grid look of the website. And they even look a little better and are a little easier to navigate thanks to the iOS polish. Clicking on a result gives you mini details about it, and clicking through (with the arrow) gives you all the details.
The one downside is that booking has to be done through the airline and/or aggregator’s website using mobile Safari. So after all the work Hipmunk does tidying things up, it can all go to hell if the airline’s mobile site sucks (and you can be sure it does). Of course, the Hipmunk website itself also makes you go through the airline’ and/or aggregator sites to book — it’s just a little more jarring in the app since it kicks you out to Safari.
But Hipmunk for the iPhone comes with the nice feature of being able to email a booking link or being able to use a code to go directly to a “finish” page on Hipmunk.com if you don’t feel like finalizing booking over the phone.
Developer Danilo Campos details his experience making the app on Hipmunk’s blog here. It’s a nice story as he was simply going to build them an app on his own on the side, when they contacted him to do it.
You can find Hipmunk in the App Store here. It’s a free download.