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Travel companies from airlines to online travel agencies have been struggling to add utility and depth to their sometimes-bland flight search features in their mobile apps.
Priceline is testing inserting Routehappy’s flight ratings into Priceline’s iOS apps, and the latest company to jazz up flight search in mobile is Denmark-based metasearcher Momondo.
Momondo added a Friend Compass feature within flight search in its Android and iOS apps and, after connecting to Facebook, users can view how much it costs to fly to the closest airports near the current locations of each of their Facebook friends.
Turn the phone/compass in one direction and you’ll see it may cost $1,005 to fly to your friend Derek in South Africa, and point in another direction and you’ll learn that a flight to Claude in Montreal is a bargain $141.
On the other hand, Shaleni lives only a few miles away and Momondo lets you know that “you are too close for a plane ride.”
The app uses the phones’ GPS capabilities.
If the traveler is looking to freeload and crash at a friend’s place for the weekend, then this app comes in handy because you can figure out the cheapest fare to fly to a friend.
There are other use cases, too, but mostly the Friend Compass feature makes for a lot of fun.
And, yes, after choosing a friend to fly to, you can search flights, sort by price, distance and weather, and book the flight on a partner site, and even use the app to browse for hotel options.
Momondo characterizes Friend Compass, which is “a real working compass,” as “an inspirational feature.”
The app locates the current location of Facebook friends so you can keep track of their wanderings and travels.
If users of the app decide not to connect to their Facebook friends then the compass merely displays major cities around the world and you can search that way, too.