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Why didn't someone think of this before? (Perhaps someone did.) It isn't the end-all, be-all in travel search, but it is a step ahead in ease of use.

For travelers who get frustrated navigating their way around an app from flights to hotels, has streamlined the process in its tablet apps, and is showing flight- and hotel-search results side by side.

Users merely enter a destination or select one from a map, enter dates on the next screen, and then Expedia might display 200 hotels or 30 flights, as shown for Barcelona below in its iPad app .

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With permission, the iPad or Android tablet app knows the traveler’s current location and, in this instance, shows flight choices from New York airports to Barcelona, along with hotel options in the Spanish city, all side by side.

Tap on a flight to view the carrier and fare, on-time performance, the number of miles and hours. Tap on a hotel, and it shows the rate, number of reviews, the percentage of reviewers who recommended the property, and amenities, including a business center and baby-sitting.

It is easy to go back and forth between flights and hotels, and once travelers make their selections, they appear together in a Your Trip section on the app’s home screen alongside the flight and search results.

Jerald Singh, Expedia’s senior director of mobile product, explained some of the thinking behind the company’s new tablet apps here.

“We wanted to build a tablet experience that complemented how we see people discover, plan and book trips on tablet devices,” Singh says. “Our earlier tablet app simply was a port of the phone app we have. It was successful in terms of transactions, but it didn’t really do anything to showcase the powerful tablets that are on the market today or how people use these unique devices.”

“Our hope is that this new app will be something in which travelers want to invest their time; a helpful tool to which they turn when they begin researching a trip and something they pick up on their couch or before they go to bed. We’ve made the app easy to navigate by removing the up-front questions travelers generally need to answer when they start thinking about a trip. We’ve replaced the fields you typically see with a single search box. All you need to know is where you are thinking about going.”

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Tags: apps, expedia, tablets

Photo credit: Expedia's tablet apps now display flight and hotel choices side by side. Pictured is a view of Expedia's iPad app. Skift

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