Hipmunk your way to lower air fares online

An airliner climbs into the cloudy sky.

Hipmunk is taking off this week, and the reviews of the visually striking flight search website are quite positive. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Wang Huasheng/Picasa)

It started out as a simple summer project for young Adam Goldstein, and now Hipmunk may be the most innovative way for an online flight search. With a little help from friend and Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman, Goldstein took an old dog and taught it a bevy of new tricks, reports CNN Money. In strokes of brilliant color and user-friendly interface arrangement, Goldstein may have just painted his way into the big time.

Online travel gets hip with Hipmunk

As opposed to a boring text list of flights, Hipmunk dresses the entire process in color and arranges flights on an easy-to-analyze grid. Hipmunk just launched this week, but tech industry reviews are glowing. TechCrunch writes that “When you see the results you’ll never want to see flight results in any other format.” Lifehacker has similar praise for the “fantastic” visual interface, which is gratifying to Goldstein, as that his team spent a great deal of time on that aspect of Hipmunk. There’s no clutter of text and buttons, just a color-coded arrangement of airlines. Searchers and easily zoom in on a favorite in the grid at any time for additional information.

Winging it with ‘a small, cute animal and a good logo’

Goldstein and Huffman met with a number of online flight booking sites before settling on a deal with Orbitz, one of the most popular online travel aggregators. Flights found on Hipmunk are booked via Orbitz and both sites benefit monetarily from the transaction. Hipmunk’s chipmunk in flight goggles will no doubt bring the company the kind of brand recognition Twitter enjoys with its bluebird. The choice of mascot came from Goldstein’s girlfriend, reports CNN.

“She said, ‘If you pick a small, cute animal and a good logo you’ll never go wrong,'” Goldstein says.

Storing acorns for winter

Hipmunk is still in the early process of its evolution and is stockpiling ideas for how to improve. Issues like expanding search functions and monetizing the site in ways that don’t bombard users with spam are on Goldstein’s agenda. Expanding into hotels and auto rentals may be a likely move. It will be interesting to see how Hipmunk maintains its Zen-like design as additional content is added to the user experience. Whatever happens, the search for cheap flights is now less frustrating for searchers than ever before.


CNN Money


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