By Erin Kowtko
It’s that time of year when we think about New Year’s resolutions and fun plans for the coming year. For many of us, plans include travel! There is nothing like a fun trip to see family or friends or discover a new part of the world to lift the spirits.
As wonderful as travel is, costs can add up unless we plan wisely! In light of finding the most cost-efficient means of travel, I have checked out two apps whose primary goal is to discover the cheapest flights.
Hopper’s intention is to notify users of the best travel dates, as well as the best time to purchase your flight. The company collects data on over 1 billion flights every day. That mass amount of real-time data enables them to calculate accurate flights based off the trends of the moment. The user receives notifications in real time so they can purchase at the optimal time. Hopper states they have a 95% accuracy rate. Hopper is a cool app that has received a multitude of awards. Android and iOS users can download the app free.
It is super easy to maneuver the app. You put in the dates you are interested in traveling, and Hopper will reveal an estimate of the ticket prices over the month. That allows you to view the cheapest time to fly if you have flexibility with your travel plans. Hopper will also share if you should make the purchase now or wait for prices to change. If in fact Hopper recommends that you wait, you will click on a cute little binoculars icon, which will alert the app to notify you when the prices drop. On the contrary, if Hopper recommends that you buy now, you are able to purchase the flight right then and there. It is one-stop shopping!
This prompted me to wonder about how safe the app was. It had access to my personal information and credit card numbers. I was happy to read that Hopper is an accredited travel agency, and they do not send our personal information to third parties unless it’s expressly required for booking. The actual payment itself is processed through a certified PCI service provider, and all of our stored personal information is encrypted. That makes me feel good about working with Hopper for my travel needs.
The one downfall I see, which is particularly pertinent to us Atlantans, is that Delta has recently stopped sharing their data with Hopper. With Delta’s hub being local, that could potentially limit quite a few options for us. Aside from that, they have 250 airlines that they work with.
Skyscanner is an all-encompassing travel search engine. You can book your flights, hotels, and car rentals with this app, so it is quite convenient. One important detail to note is that this app is currently only available via the Apple Store for iOS devices. However, you can access it through the main website on your PC.
Skyscanner features a chart that shows the most affordable days to fly to your desired destination. This is helpful if you have flexibility with your travel dates. They also feature flight ratings, which I find to be helpful. It is always nice to know if you are selecting a flight option that historically has a good track record of being on time. As we have all experienced, there is nothing more frustrating than missing connections due to delays and affecting your fun holiday plans.
Another cool feature that was recently implemented is Next Weekend Flight Deals, which allows you to quickly search for flight options on the next upcoming weekend. For the more impulsive, spur-of-the-moment traveler, this is a nice feature. They also offer Travel Tips, which range from top places to visit in the coming year, to how to deal with the hassle of a missed flight, to Visa requirements for particular countries. I found these articles to be incredibly helpful and a real value add to the consumer.
Skyscanner does not personally book your flight or collect your payment. They share it with a travel agent or airline who reserves your flight. Therefore, if you have a problem, Skyscanner cannot help; you will have to work directly with the travel agent or airline, which is not appealing to me. Perhaps for a simple, non-stop flight, this organization would work, but personally I would likely steer away from working with them for more complex flights.
While they do promise they will not share or sell your IP details or personal information, they do not expressly state that your information is encrypted or that your payment is processed through a secure method. As a consumer, that concerns me and makes me a bit leery to work with them.
Overall, I am more inclined to work with Hopper for the security assurance it offers to its consumers. That said, Skyscanner is a terrific resource to compare flights and obtain travel tips.
Happy traveling in 2018, and we’d love to hear if you find one of these apps helpful!
Erin has years of experience in the healthcare and non-profit sector. She brings her skills and passion to benefit Network 1’s team, clients, and partners. She strives to provide the best service and solutions to her clients so they can achieve greatness through Worry-Free IT.
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Network 1 Consulting is a 19-year-old IT Support company in Atlanta, GA. We become – or augment – the IT department for law firms and medical practices. Our IT experts can fix computers – but what our clients value most are the industry-specific best practices we bring to their firms. This is especially important with technology, along with regulations and cyber threats, changing so rapidly. We take a proactive approach to helping our clients use technology to gain and keep their competitive advantage.