The price of airfare is an ongoing point of frustration for travelers, especially considering that it feels like airlines find every conceivable opportunity to shake you down for a few more bucks. Many startups and businesses have come and gone trying to find a way to give leisure travelers access to cheaper airfare, as airlines just keep shutting them down. The reason? Airlines make more money off business travelers, who are less flexible in their travel dates and destinations, so, while they’re open to the idea of offering discounts to the average leisure traveler, they don’t want to include both.
Y Combinator alum, GetGoing, launched in March with a model that it hopes will finally incentivize airlines to offer discounts to leisure travelers, in part, by giving them a fool-proof way of identifying them — and filling those unsold seats. The catch, however, is that GetGoing asks users to relinquish the choice over their final destination in return for tickets that are up to 40 percent less expensive.
It’s a hard pill to swallow at first, but it’s necessary to ensure airlines that you are actually a leisure traveler. In other words, users sign in, search for routes to over 1,000 destinations in 50 countries, then pick their top two destinations, whereupon GetGoing (randomly) decides where you’re headed. If you know where you want to go, it’s probably not for you, but if you’re flexible on whether you take the family to the Bahamas or Puerto Rico, GetGoing may be up your alley.
Of course, understanding the limitations of their so-called “Pick Two, Get One” platform, GetGoing is today expanding its service to offer a personalized flight search engine that aims to find better prices and cheaper alternatives. FlightFinder, as its called, allows anyone and everyone to search by location, regions or experiences (like scuba diving, safaris, etc.). The idea is to make it easier for flexible travelers to find more affordable airfare by offering variety.
In other words, if one searches for Maui, FlightFinder will return the best prices for both Maui, along with cheaper routes and airfare from nearby destinations, like Honolulu and Kauai, for example. Or, if you’re not quite sure where you want to go, but know you want to go some place warm, you can search for “beaches” or “snorkeling,” and GetGoing will serve up a few affordable options.
While FlightFinder still requires an element of flexibility on the traveler’s part if they’re going to find the best deal, it expands the traditionally limited scope of flight search, discovery and booking. It also adds much-needed flight search and booking functionality alongside its flight deals platform.
Yes, GetGoing has an uphill battle against sites like Kayak and Hipmunk, both of which have changed the way people search for and book flights, making it more expansive, transparent and efficient. For business travelers who know where they’re headed, it’s pretty difficult to beat Kayak, especially as it expands to offer complementary services directly, like hotel and adventure booking. But the GetGoing founders think there’s still room to improve online travel booking for leisure travelers by expanding the scope of results beyond one particular location or destination.
The new service adds an option for less-flexible travelers, while still unlocking discounts that Kayak might not pick up — or at least that’s the idea. While its Pick Two, Get One platform offers deals on flights to over 50 countries, FlightFinder is accessible to pretty much every flight to pretty much anywhere. However, at this point, GetGoing is only facilitating bookings for flights that originate in the U.S., but it plans to expand support to international users in the near future.