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CheapOair debuts travel search engine for consumers

June 14, 2011

A screen grab of the CheapOair app

Online travel agency CheapOair launched an iPhone application to help customers search and book airplane flights on their mobile devices.

Users can find more than 100 million domestic and international flights from 400 airlines, indicating the growing opportunity in travel as bookings move from desktop to mobile. The app is available for free in Apple’s App Store.

“Travel apps like the CheapOair app are making the often stressful and complicated act of traveling easier,” said Neil Strother, Kirkland, WA-based mobile practice director at ABI Research.

“Why would you book a full trip on your phone instead of your computer? Because of sheer convenience,” he said. is an online travel booking site that includes airfare, hotels, car rentals and vacation packages.

The company did not respond by press deadline.

ABI’s Mr. Strother is not affiliated with Cheapoair, but offered third-party commentary.

Rap on app
The CheapOair Flight Search iPhone app offers free booking and user-friendly searches that can be adjusted to find nearby flights with geo-technology as well as by price and departure time.

The tool can also be used to find round-trip or one-way tickets, including direct flight options.

In addition, the app includes a currency convertor for international flights to track expenses.

After booking a flight, users can save their information to access later.

The app can only currently be used for flights, but later versions will include hotels and other popular travel tools from CheapOair, including seat maps, baggage fee information and seat booking.

An Android version of the app is also slated for the future.

Not flights of fancy
The new app from Cheapoair is an example of the importance of travel apps to the mobile industry.

In fact, a recent study conducted by TripAdvisor found that 38 percent of people surveyed have used a mobile device to plan a trip, and 60 percent of participants have downloaded travel apps.

The study, which surveyed more than 1,000 respondents, also found that 51 percent of people check their flight status while on the go and 62 percent of travelers with a mobile device research restaurants while traveling.

“Developers are realizing that travel apps are best suited for people already traveling,” Mr. Strother said.

“Travel companies should see apps and mobile technology as an opportunity and a new touch point for consumers,” he said.

However, developers need to think critically when developing apps for the travel industry.

“Many travel Web sites are difficult to navigate, and obviously the goal with mobile is to simplify the process for users,” Mr. Strother said.

“Consumers need choices within a framework when booking travel plans from their smartphones,” he said.

“The challenge with travel apps is trying to think differently about each platform, and I think we’ll see an increase in usability in the near future with travel apps.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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