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April Fools' Day / Airline News / Comedy Travel / Awesome Stuff / Virgin / Scoot / Hipmunk / Virgin Volcanic / → All Tags
3. Hipmunk's Millenium Falcon WiFi-enabled flights
Going after the little, taken-by-surprise laugh that comes from inserting easter eggs to sites, Hipmunk added the Millennium Falcon to their flight options. Do a search, and you'd see it in the results. Of course, heading off with Han Solo will cost more than with, say, a Frontier Airlines crew, but it does indicate that your space flight will be WiFi-enabled. Thank god, considering the lengthy layover in hyperspace.
This whole book-a-fake-flight thing reminds us of the Kayak stunt a couple years back, when LOST's Oceanic 815 was an actual option...if you inputted the correct flight search on their site.
Now that we've already warned that Thanksgiving weekend flight prices are rising and the TV news channels are freaking out over it, it's time for the airfare search engines themselves to have a say.
Hipmunk is up to their old tricks of putting together brilliant infographics, and if you know us at all, you know that one of the things we love almost as much as time-lapse videos are colorful infographics. The chipmunk dressed as a pilgrim is just a bonus.
The graphic above is only a small sample of the numbers crunched; you can view the entire masterpiece right here.
Google / Orbitz / Kayak / Hipmunk / Technology / Travel Websites / Travel News / Travel Industry / Airline Industry / → All Tags
Last May we told you that Google was getting into the travel business, with the Mountain View search giant having just acquired travel software company ITA. ITA provides the algorithms that power sites like Orbitz, Kayak, and CheapTickets - to say nothing of handling schedules for a bunch of airlines - and that's pretty much all it does. So Google's intentions weren't exactly inscrutable, even if the exact details of what they wanted with ITA weren't totally clear.
Then a few months later flight schedules started showing up in Google results. That wasn't particularly exciting in and of itself, but it banished any remaining doubts about whether Google was getting into the flight search game. And so no one was really surprised when, earlier this week, Google finally launched their new Google Flight Search. It's exactly what you think it is, and you can check it out here.
In another great "duh, why wasn't this done years ago" movie, travel search site Hipmunk.com is now displaying Amtrak train results alongside airline flights when you search. It's official too; Amtrak is literally and figuratively onboard with the whole thing, and heaven knows any extra oomph thrown on their side to help fight for passengers with the airlines is bonus.
So here's what's up: search for flights like usual on Hipmunk. If there are Amtrak options between them, then the Amtrak trains will appear in the results, very much like regular flights do now.
We've made the point once or twice before, but not only do we adore innovative travel search engine Hipmunk on its merits, but there's also something about their cute little mascot that seems custom-built for the Internet. We're not sure that the success can be reduced down to a simple formula, except inasmuch as the Internet loves cute animals that are kind of animated, and the Hipmunk mascot is a cute animal that's kind of animated, and so the Internet loves the Hipmunk mascot.
Hmmm. Apparently it can be reduced to a simple formula after all.
So much can viral videos be reduced to formulas, apparently, that the Hipmunk people have gone ahead and done exactly that in their first stab at video advertising. Explaining on their blog that "everything's better with cute animals," the search engine brought together members of sketch comedy show SMBC theater and asked them to dress up like some of the Internet's most famous stars. Then they had the actors recreate those stars' most famous moments, the result being a series of homages to cute animals doing cute things (with some exceptions for annoying animals doing annoying things, because sometimes the Interwebs have a problem distinguishing cute from annoying).
Are travelers getting spoiled now with the increasing availability of in-flight WiFi? The answer is maybe a little, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. We know that for us, booking flights now has the added worry of figuring out whether our options will have in-flight WiFi or not, and having it becomes a larger and larger part of our final decision. Some airlines will tell you straight out on their website which flights have it, but what about travel search engines that comb through lots of airfare from many different airlines? You've got to go figure it out for yourself usually, before clicking "Book It."
Then in swoops our recent crush Hipmunk.com, which has not only swiftly revolutionized the way you search for airfare and hotels, but has just recently saved the days by adding a little WiFi indicator directly onto flight results that definitely have the internet up in the skies. According to Jacqueline over at Hipmunk, this added detail is huge because "we want [travelers] to see all the options, trade-offs, and flight info in one glance without having to click through to the details."
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Please excuse our recent Hipmunk obsession, but when there's a cute little critter that specializes in some of the awesomest thingsnamely booking flights and hotelsand they throw in infographics, then we're addicted.
The newest Hipmunk fun regards a travel sector we don't hear enough about: pet travel. Shaun Sanders of Hipmunk lends his skillz to the full report, which you can view here. Amongst other facts, we learned that 14-18% of US adults have traveled with a pet in the last 3 years, with nearly 500,000 pets flying the skies each year.
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He's an infographic fiend, our small obsession, and even our Travel Tweet of the Week; yes, he's the Hipmunk. This sprightly little chipmunk is no less than the mascot for the most exciting and fresh travel booking engine out there right now. Hipmunk.com, though less than a year old, has already become our default search site for pricing airfare and hotels, so we sort of crashed their headquarters last week in San Francisco.
If you want to read the tech trend story on how Hipmunk got started, there are plenty out there. The site had momentum from the first, seeing as how its foundersAdam Goldstein, Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanianare behind the popular social news sharing website Reddit and well known in their own rights. We could tell you all about that, but instead we're far more interested in things like the fact that they just bought an office couch (it's IKEA, and lime green)! And they're developing hoodies!
We love Tuesdays. Why, you ask? Because the day brings many travel tips and quips as "Travel Tuesday" on Twitter, and we're going to share our favorite with you. Got an avid travel twitterer we should follow? Let us know.
It's been about six months since we first confessed our love of the little chipmunk that finds cheap flights: the Hipmunk. Of course he's got his own Twitter, @thehipmunk, from which the critter dispenses everything from travel infographics to flight deals to quirky observations. Today is a case of the latter, and we're so on the same wavelength:
I love how much faster these crosscountry trips are when you're going west to east - it's like someone gave the airplane a redbull.
Baggage Fees / Hipmunk / Travel Search Engines / Travel Websites / Checked Baggage Fees / → All Tags
This is the only tippy top of it
Holy crap. You know that little chipmunk mascot that likely keeps drawing you back and back again to search flights and hotels on Hipmunk.com? Well, that anime-cute rodent has been doing some serious number-crunching behind the scenes, and Hipmunk has released a beautiful, want-to-lick-it lovely infographic that easily educates the traveler on the history of evil, evil Baggage Fees.
The infographic is quite long, covering all the major soap opera-like drama that's gone down with airlines and oil prices and whatnot since 2000. There's a few "Hip Tips" for getting around baggage fees, and we especially love the shark feeding frenzy graphic about half-way down. Finally, they make us frightened for the coming of space travel. SEE THE WHOLE THING HERE.
What's up with the chipmunk wearing aviator goggles? Oh, he's just the mascot of new-ish flight search site Hipmunk.com. We've been kind of obsessed with it the last few weeks, and for good reason. Hipmunk is a very cleanly designed site, like if Kayak and Google Search had a baby, and made it display plane ticket options in very appealing ways. Overall, we're loving Hipmunk for two very distinct advances it has over many other booking sites:
1. Flight options display in colorful bar charts: Enter the basic information for whatever flight you wantdates, destinations, class and preferred airline. Now comes our favorite part: the way the search results show up. The default is not to show you tickets by price level or flight length or number of connections, but by general "Agony." They describe it as a "combination of price, duration and number of stops," so it pretty much gives the best summary of what's available. A bright chart is displayed, from which you can easily see the differences between the flights.