Blog Pile

Hipmunk Makes Flight Planning Hip (and visual)

I’m coming off of a fantastic closing session at the NMC Symposium by the Future by Ruben Puentedura on Of Maps, Systems, and Stories: Visualization for Sustainability (we are still processing the recorded audio but there is a gold mine in his slides). Ruben’s examples and ideas on visualization have me inspired to carve up some time and get down to learning to use processing.

Until then, I went back to my RSS feeds in visual design/info-stuff-matics and within a post or 10, found a reference to Hipmunk, which provides a fresher, visual way of doing flight planning as opposed to the list views we see elsewhere:

We make it faster and easier to find the flight you want.
Most flight search sites haven’t changed in years. They have an intimidating search page and endless pages of flight results. Finding the right flight often takes all afternoon””or all week.

At Hipmunk, we make your experience a lot better. We’re building better interfaces for searching, browsing, and filtering your flight search results.

So like any other site, you enter your travel dates and destinations, and choose to maybe see all airlines or just your favorite. As an example, I plugged in some fake details for a trip I might do next month to fly from Phoenix To Baltimore, maybe in a quest for some great seafood.

Rather than the Long List I might get elsewhere, I get a visual set of options:

Each airline is color coded and labeled, and the flight info is laid out on a timeline, so you can quickly see how much time and when you will be traveling, including layovers. Even more, you can grab the vertical bars on either end, and narrow the time of day you want to travel- and it does this right in the page, for example, if you do not want to see night time or late in the day flights:

On the right side there are some little numbers on a menu that when activated says “show worse” which looks like it shows alternate flights on the same airline that may have longer routes (I may really want to make a stopover in Denver rather than a direct flight, or in this case, maybe I need to have a longer layover in Houston so I can fit in a conference call or a stop at the great wine bar there).

Clicking on a flight brings up the full details:

And at anytime, you can click the BUY buttons on the left to (I am assuming) go to the airline site and make a purchase (hopefully which will go better than my awful experience buying at United)- they also seem to be color coded to show better prices.

I only did a quick run through of Hipmunk, but it truly seems to offer a more efficient way to at least identify the flights you want. I often use Kayak (especially on trips with other than round trip stops; though on my last round the world trip through 5 different destinations, no one booking could do it all) -but often on Kayak, you get like 20 pages of results (yes I do filter down by Star Alliance or flight times, but you do get more information than you can process over several screens).

Right now, Hipmunk is looking very hip to me.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

Comments

  1. Wow. What a splendid review. Thank you very much! If you’ve got any hipmunk.com-related questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to email contact@hipmunk.com

    We want your entire flight search process to be as agony free as possible. And blog entries like this mean other people get to learn about what we can offer. It means a lot to us.

    1. I was about to try Hipmunk, when my friend pointed out that Kayak is superior in so many ways. Hipmunk doesn’t even have any of the helpful features that Kayak does.

      I made sure to save my friends from using the disaster that is Hipmunk!

      1. Hi John- I would be you or your friend work for Kayak.

        Anyone who has been on the internet for more than 10 minutes would actually try it themselves to make an informed decision.

        Anyone who has been in the internet for more than 30 minutes realizes that there are no absolutes in “best”.

        I dont give a shit what you or your friends use; I have used both, and for picking options out of a huge list, the visual interface of Hipmunk is light years ahead of all other travel sites. It does not mean I might not use another service, but I base my opinions on my own experience.

        Good luck out there.

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