Many people, myself included, try to visit ‘home’ every now and then or have a list of places to visit. These casual ‘optimistic’ travellers are looking for that weekend or week etc.. where they can find the right flights (based on price & times). They are flexible on dates but have to work hard and rely on luck to find a cheap flight that works.
Consider the scenario where you are looking for direct flights for $60 or less between London and Dublin sometime in the next 4 months. Your other ‘rules’ are that the flight must depart London on a Friday between 6 and 9PM and return on Sunday between 3 and 9PM. Currently this kind of search is annoying, frustrating and repetitive. The searching involves a lot of back buttons, new windows and remembering what dates you just checked. This wastes time and requires a lot of discipline. The current process is tailored towards more rigid travellers who know when & where they want to travel.
An alternative approach would be to develop a ‘rules based booking engine’ which would alert customers when a flight was found that satisfied the rules. The user would only need to define a few rules and alerting options, sit back and wait for the email, text or feed notification. A more advanced service could even make ‘the booking’ on the users behalf via an advanced ‘purchase order’ rule.
So have you wasted too much of your time trawling multiple dates to find that cheap and convenient flight home? Have you come across any service that offers a rules based service? SkyScanner is the closest alternative I have found, but unfortunately it has limited options and relies on the user to actively re-search the site.
‘Now and then’ could be a very profitable business!