Most power airfare searchers know that buying two one-way tickets on separate airlines can sometimes be cheaper than buying a roundtrip ticket on the same airline. But on most travel search portals you have to do a little digging to find these one way fares, and sites like Kayak wouldn’t pair two one-way fares from different airlines. Today, Kayak is integrating these fares, which the company has dubbed ‘Hacker Fares’ into flight search.
So if you are looking weekend roundtrip flight from New York to San Francisco, and the best price is $600 for an economy ticket on Airline A, you’ll also see the price options for two one-way fares on Airline A and Airline B, which may be cheaper. Kayak calls these Hacker Fares because searching and matching separate airline and travel sites for these cheaper one-way fares requires a bit of hacking.
Kayak has even trademarked the term and filed a patent for the technology. CMO Robert Birge says that airlines won’t be upset over this because the company is simply searching what’s already out there via flight data on the web.
While Birge won’t reveal how often a roundtrip fare on the same airline is more expensive than two separate one-way fares on different airlines, he did say that Kayak expects the addition of Hacker Fares to impact a ‘significant percentage of queries’ on a daily basis.
Kayak, which filed its S-1 nearly a year ago, appears to be holding off on its plans go public. As the company reported in its most recent filing, revenue is up but net income is down. Kayak could be waiting for Google to launch its own ITA-powered flight search tools and services that will directly compete with Kayak.