Wouldn't it be great if airlines one day had to respond to flyers' adverse ratings of their flights just as hotel management often does on user review sites such as TripAdvisor? The airline industry isn't close to that point yet.
While Expedia Inc. officials know that lots of travelers search for flights based on price, the online travel agency has begun integrating ratings of aircraft, seats, amenities such as Wi-Fi and fresh food, flight durations, and overall flyer sentiment into search results on Expedia.com.
The move comes through a licensing agreement with Routehappy, giving Expedia Inc. full access to Routehappy’s flight scores and ratings through an API (application programming interface).
The Routehappy partnership enables Expedia to present “valuable information to help travelers make the most informed decision possible,” says Greg Schulze, senior vice president, Global Tour & Transport at Expedia Inc.
“This benefits both our customers and our partners as it allows travelers an easier way to find the flight experience that best fits their needs,” Schulze says.
In the following example from Expedia.com, travelers can see that Cathay Pacific offers the cheapest flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo, but the nearly 29-hour flight gets a 4.7 Routehappy rating and that pales in comparison with the 8.1-rated United flight.
“Cathay Pacific is cheapest but takes almost 29 hours and United flies a new 787 nonstop packed with amenities,” a Routehappy spokesperson says.
Under the licensing agreement, Expedia Inc. gets full access to Routehappy data. Expedia has begun integrating the Routehappy ratings into select routes on Expedia.com and plans to offer the ratings on other websites and apps around the world.
Earlier this year Priceline began testing the use of Routehappy’s ratings in its iOS apps and even enabled flyers to sort flights by ratings such as Happiest or Happy & Cheap.
“The test on Priceline’s iPhone app has concluded for now,” says a Routehappy spokesperson, adding that “Routehappy remains in active discussions with online travel agencies and metas worldwide for integration of Scores & Happiness Factors on their sites.”
Focusing on Products Rather than Metasearch
Routehappy entered the tough metasearch sector earlier this year but CEO Robert Albert says the startup is now focusing on two products: its flight and amenities rating systems, as well as RouteHappy Hub, “a system that helps airlines organize and deliver rich content about their unique products to improve conversion and yield in flight shopping, on their own sites, via their distributors, and in their digital ads.”
Albert says Routehappy is starting to generate “real revenue,” has adequate funding, and is “bullish that you’ll be seeing airlines and distributors testing, innovating, and even transforming their sites with help from Routehappy data, content, and tools.”
Free Daily Newsletter
Sign up for the most popular Skift daily download of news, happening, and headlines in the travel world
Photo credit: Expedia.com is integrating ratings of flights and amenities from Routehappy. Pictured is the interior of a United 787 Dreamliner. United Airlines