KAYAK Rolls Out New Feature: A Complete List Of In-Flight Amenities
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Earlier today the world’s largest travel booking search engine, KAYAK, announced that it is teaming up with Routehappy, which calls itself a “product differentiation platform for air travel.” The goal of this partnership is to give travelers a better picture of what services and amenities will be offered on a flight that they are considering booking.
On KAYAK, the data will appear in the form of icons in the corner of each flight listing. As many as seven different items will will be displayed: Aircraft, Seat, Layout, Wi-Fi, Entertainment, Power and Fresh Food. The information comes from Flightpad, a regularly updated worldwide database of airlines and airplanes.
Putting all the information in one place
Most the information provided on KAYAK by Routehappy can be found elsewhere with a little research. However, the process is streamlined for the site's visitors; flight shoppers don’t have to visit an airline’s web site, peruse a frequent flier forum and read peer reviews before figuring out what they are going to get on a particular flight.
Even people who book directly on an airline’s site or some other third party site can use the new Kayak feature to confirm what services are on offer on a particular route. (Will your “food service” consist of a “fresh meal” or a bag of peanuts and a cup of water?)
This could be a marketing tool for airlines as well
The process of finding information about in-flight amenities will be easier for fliers, but what does this trend of transparency mean for airlines? As I mentioned above, the information now provided in the form of those little icons on KAYAK is also available to anyone who wants to put in a little online leg work, or perhaps even make a call to the airline. So it is not as if airlines do not want you to know what Routehappy is telling you. Actually, one of Routehappy's other clients is United Airlines.
Having extra information could really work in an airline’s favor when it comes to pricing. By making amenity data so readily available, airlines may be able to justify a higher fare. Fliers can easily see what they will be paying that extra $10, $25, or $50 for on a given route. That said, price will always probably be the biggest factor for most fliers, but tools like Routehappy could help consumers understand that there is potentially more value behind a higher fare
In an ideal world, airlines would add extra amenities as a way to differentiate their service from the competition. KAYAK is a huge site that claims to process more than one billion travel searches per year on its sites in 32 countries (in 18 different languages). That means carriers have plenty of opportunity to advertise their larger seats, free Wi-Fi or superior collection of in-flight movies.
Amenities could be more important in the future
Airlines are spending huge amounts of money to upgrade their fleets to include high-tech amenities. AirBerlin has just announced that it will offer 3G mobile connectivity on some of its planes, and Norwegian Air Shuttle recently began providing live TV on European flights. There is definitely a trend of airlines upgrading to differentiate themselves. With all this money going into new amenities, carriers will certainly want to advertise them in every way possible.
For casual fliers, though, KAYAK is now a good place to see the basics of a flights amenities before booking.
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