Why flight search is lagging behind

Flight search engines are innovating but are thinking inside the box.

A short story on the evolution of flight search.

Most, if not all, of the flight search engines are continuously improving their product, and rightfully too. They are all looking for a perfect user experience; an easier and better way to book flights. It is very true that booking a flight becomes easier year after year due to many small tweaks and user interface upgrades, but that’s exactly why flight search companies are lagging behind, they are overly focused on one product. Nobody tries to redefine travel in a bigger sense. Nobody is being bold.

At the moment it basically always comes down to the same story; you fill in a departure airport, a destination, set your dates and it starts searching for the cheapest flights.

Nobody tries to redefine travel. Nobody is being bold.

At PaperFlies we want to give the traveler more than just one option to find their preferred flight. Besides offering just the ordinary search engine we are developing different kinds of products to find your flight. Even better said, the product that made PaperFlies a success in the first place was such a product. PaperFlies started out as a deal website (no possibility to search for flights), offering only around 15 to 20 destinations each day. We developed a system that identifies the cheapest available price for a chosen departure and destination airport. Once this price is found all possible dates (often spread over a period of 1 to 3 months) are automatically shown.

Paris is always a good idea! All optional dates are shown and can be booked for just one fixed (cheap) price.

The reason why this product worked, which helped PaperFlies grow so quickly, could only be described with one word: innovation. We received many compliments from our users because they were never able to have such great insight in flight prices. This type of product might never be as attractive as the traditional flight search engine because more often than not people have a specific destination and date in mind. But for the group who don’t, this is a very helpful tool. All this positive feedback gives us the motivation to innovate and create new products.

Currently we are working on another product that solves a long-term problem. A common problem is that people would like to go on a city trip, safari, surf holiday but don’t know where exactly they should go, as long as there are waves right? We are developing a new search feature that allows you to pick a theme (e.g. safari, surf, diving), then asks for your departure airport, departure date and return date. In seconds a personalized page is created with around 25 potential destinations along with prices, now you’re able to easily compare and book! So maybe instead of surfing in Bali you’re going to Hawaii because it’s cheaper for your selected dates!

Travel by theme; a new way to search flights.

So besides only fine-tuning our traditional search engine we are adding several other products to fulfil the needs of different users. Need the best deals to anywhere departing from the nearest airport? Check. Want to go on safari but not sure what possibilities you have? Check. Need to simply book a ticket to Rio de Janeiro? Check. Need to easily find the cheapest fares? Check. And this could go on for a while. Besides vertical integration (improving existing products), travellers also want to see horizontal integration (new products).

We will most definitely keep improving!

Of course PaperFlies isn’t perfect yet and we’re working hard to improve it. Feel free to send us any suggestions or thoughts at medium@paperflies.com

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