New App Predicts Airfares

hopper-goodMichon and I are always planning our next escape, so we like to keep up with technology that makes traveling easier.  Especially the kind that saves us money!  Once we’ve vetted something new and cool, we like to share it with you as well.

That’s why a new app for Android and Apple phones has us pretty excited.   Unlike most airfare apps that allow you to book tickets and check fares, this “intelligent” app goes way beyond that, actually predicting when you should buy, when you should wait, and what your options are to your dream destination.

It’s called Hopper, and it uses a unique algorithm to check airfares between your city of origin, and your destination city.  But here’s where it gets interesting.  Unlike others, Hopper looks at the city pairs and predicts whether fares will rise or fall, and when, in the weeks or months before you depart.  So you can jump on great fares when they become available, or wait to purchase those that will probably fall.   Here’s how a search for fares between SFO and New Orleans looks on a desktop.  Or course, you’ll want to use the mobile app most of the time.

hopper-screenshot

As you can see, the program gives you lots of good information about booking your airfare to the destination, like when prices usually fall, the best days of the week to travel, and more.

It works like this.  Put in a destination, and the dates of travel, and ask Hopper to watch airfares.  It may be that the best fares are at that very moment and Hopper will say so.  However, more likely those fares will be showing some rises and dips in the weeks before travel, and Hopper will make sense of that and try to get you to buy during a dip.  The program takes lots of things into account, including seasonal fare fluctuations, trends between city pairs based on competition, and also price trends to the destination based on the unique attributes of the location you have chosen. Just to give an example, if you are using Hopper to check on airfares to San Jose Costa Rica, the program will know that prices vary to this destination based on seasonal travel trends, but also on timing of the wet and dry seasons.  It will also know if new airlines are serving the route, and what impact that might have on prices.

We’ve found that Hopper can save you a lot of money, especially if your plans are flexible.  The app displays a calendar grid of airfares, much like other booking sites do, using colors to show when airfares are best, in green, and when they aren’t, in yellow and red.  The big difference of course, is that Hopper does the checking behind the scenes, alerting you on changes and improvements in airfare via notifications on your phone.  No more checking back each day to see what has changed!

Anyway, check out Hopper on your Android or Apple device.  We like it, and think you will too!

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