As with these startups and more established players such as Orbitz (OWW) and Expedia (EXPE), InsideTrip wants to help you find and purchase the tickets for your next trip. However, instead of focusing entirely on surfacing the cheapest flights, the service intends to help you identify those flights with the highest levels of quality.
Quality is measured by factors spanning 3 categories (speed, comfort, and ease) and addressing 12 so-called “pain points” (such as number of stops, security wait time, legroom, aircraft type, connection time, and gate location). As a user of InsideTrip, you can indicate which of these pain points are most important to you and the service’s algorithms will generate a unique TripQuality score for each ticket result. These can be used in conjunction with the ticket price to find just the right itinerary.
Founder Dave Pelter says the company has collected information about the quality of trips from a variety of sources, some publicly available online and some devised by InsideTrip itself. Information about how long it usually takes to get through security at a particular airport, for example, is provided by the Transportation Security Administration. Other information is scraped from airline and airport websites themselves.
As someone who has bought into an itinerary that provided insufficient time to connect between flights, I can appreciate a ticket search engine that takes more into consideration than just price. However, price will always remain the predominant factor for most consumers. Pelter argues that prices don’t actually vary much across search sites these days and so its focus on quality is justified. InsideTrip actually pulls its flights, and their prices, from Orbitz and sends users there once they are ready to purchase.
Among other helpful features touted by InsideTrip include a visual itinerary bar that lets you more easily compare the legs of various trips. The system will also flag trips that it thinks have particularly high quality.
Note: when I tried using the service this evening, I kept getting a fatal communication error; hopefully this will get fixed soon. The site also doesn’t support Safari yet, so Mac users should try it with Firefox.