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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Comparing Airfare Search Results

Comparing results of Mobissimo meta travel search engine and Farecast airfares predictor search for an airline ticket from Seattle, WA to Boston, MA on July 5. Why these two cities? Because Farecast is in Beta and predicts airfares only between SEA and BOS.

July 5 SEA to BOS Economy Class

- Best deal from Mobissimo $404 (all inclusive) with 1-stop in Denver, CO.

- Best deal from Farecast* $425 with the prediction as 'Buy Now'.
Although clicking on the $425 link takes me to Orbitz where the lowest airfare from SEA and BOS with 1-stop is $406.

If the lowest fare is $406 and the link is from Farecast, why does the Farecast results page show a price of $425, or is it an indicative price for the current week?

* Accessing Farecast requires a login and is by invitation only.

People are searching for airfares and if a Web site can give the exact fare to the airfare searcher without any addons, plugins, popups, or horizontal scrolling in a simple and usable interface then that Web site would easily get loyal users.

Usability: Mobissimo provides good deals. They should cut down on the number of results shown on one page. They show about 40 odd airfares on one page. Chances are that a user finds the best deal in the first 5-10 results. The other results can be shown with a 'Next' link. This would prevent scrolling and make the results page compact.

Note: Above links show airfare results for searches made today and the prices may change depending on the availability of tickets. That's where Farecast can help. At the same time, if one can find the best deal on Mobissimo right away, then why would one wait to buy an airline ticket?

More on Farecast once I try a few more searches. They have a slider feature for setting the prices and dates, although a dropdown would be simpler and easier, instead of a slider. The slider feature is, I suppose, unique—however a dropdown box provides better usability.

Update: Tue., June 27, 2006

Searchenginewatch on Farecast and Farecompare.