90di travel search blog

Posts Tagged ‘flights’

International flights on 90di

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Not sure, if you knew that you can also search International flights on 90di. The feature has been there for a while, but we did not mention it too much, as we were reliant on a single provider for that. But now, we have improved it a bit, and so perhaps time to tell you all about it.

There are lots of Airlines in India which travel international with one end of the journey in India. So we provide flights from Jet Airways, JetKonnect, Indigo, Spice Jet and Air India Express directly from these airlines.

Also for these (inbound/outbound flights to/from India) and all the other flights of the world we show flights from Expedia.

Some example queries:

1) Some popular routes from India – in these cases we show flights from the Indian carriers and also from Expedia
Delhi to Dubai flights on 20th
Chennai to Singapore flights on 22nd and back on 24th

2) Pure International flights – these we show from Expedia
SFO to Dallas flights on Sunday

3) Some other routes connecting smaller Indian towns with places abroad – Jet Airways and Air India Express do a good job of covering these routes
Lucknow to dubai flight on sunday
dubai to amritsar flights on next friday

Please do try it out. And give us your feedback. Last but not the least: please do remember to review the choice carefully before booking.

Travel Search is more ‘green’…!

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011
‘Green’ is the word in vogue, along with other words/phrases like ‘Carbon footprint’, and rightly so, whenever there is talk about eco-friendliness or lack of it.
So here is one simple thought to ponder. Travel Search is more ‘green’ …!
To complete the phrase:
‘Travel Search’ model is more ‘green’ than the Online Travel Agent (OTA) model.
The logic. Its quite simple. First lets define what ‘green’ means in this context. Green means being eco-friendly, which means doing things in a way, which is light on the environment. That is, in simple terms we can define it as: ‘Consume less and produce more’.
People who want to travel need to compare flight (or train) options before buying –  i.e. search the cheapest and the best flight (or train). So some kind of search on top of the Airlines sites and Railway sites, is required. Else the user will have to do the comparison on various sites themselves. Both the Travel Search model and the OTA model fulfill that need.
One thing which OTA also additionally provide to the user is booking. I contest, it is this aspect which makes it less eco-friendly to the entire flight booking eco-system. It creates an extra (larglely redundant) middle layer of providing the booking itself. Which the Airlines themselves do, very nicely.
In doing so, it adds a thick layer of actions, which are largely duplicated and can easily be performed by the Airline itself (Or by the Railways/IRCTC).
To meet this extra cost, it has to charge heavy commissions. So it adds significant cost to Air travel, by charging commissions often as high as 7-8%.
In addition, the OTAs charge their own cancellation fee (or a change fee), in case of cancellation or a change in itinerary. It also has to run call centers, since it does booking. Also it can come in the way of loyalty programs between the customer and the Airline (Some of them make it workable, but its not straight forward).
Last but not the least, all that spam, in the form of mailers, announcing deals and discounts, which are largely useless for you.
Now compare this with what ‘Travel Search’ does. It serves an essential function, of allowing travellers to compare flight options (or train options or both) and choose the best flight (or train or a bus). And doesn’t duplicate the function of booking, which the Airlines do equally well.
It costs less to the eco-system. The referrals paid to travel search players are typically just about 1/10th of the hefty commissions which the Airlines pay to the OTAs. (For this reason its less attractive to VCs, but that’s another story)
It costs less to build. Just a small team of may be around 10/20 people, who sit in a garage (and largely survive on Maggie noodles!) to build a nice and strong search engine. Which allows the users to search the best flight and book directly at the Airline.
Compare this with typically hundreds of employees employed by an OTA, largely to fulfill the additional function of booking.
But don’t the OTAs offer lots of deals and discounts? Yes they do. But in simple terms, it adds further to your average travel cost, as the discount and deals on may be less than 5% of all the bookings/routes, increase the cost of overall bookings. As they have to earn money, and somebody has got to pay for it. The deals and discounts, serve mainly a marketing purpose.
So Travel Search, costs less to build. And gives more value to the user – in terms of providing just what the user wants and then getting out of the user’s way. Less is indeed More – and Travel Search model is yet another example of that!
This is our honest opinion, and would love to debate this, and learn more about it. If you agree to this, then please spread the word about us and this model, to your family and friends (we don’t have the budgets for a TV advertising you see!)
Footnotes:
1. Travel Agents: We believe all the field travel agents (i.e. the ones having a physical presence in form a store, you can walk-in to), serve a very important need, and the above argument does not apply there. Majority of the folks in India, still purchase their travel offline.
2. OTA evolution: It will be unfair to not even mention a bit on the history of this Industry. In the pre-internet days, when travel agents in US had to do bookings for their customers, they relied on Global distribution systems (GDS) – like Amadeus etc. to do the booking. So in a way, the GDSes, used to manage the entire Airline seat inventory. The first generation of online booking sites, didn’t sort of look at the system, from a clean slate view, and just moved everything online –> Online Travel Agent (OTA). Travel Search is a clean-slate perspective, of looking at things overall. It has established itself in US, firmly, with the likes of Kayak. Now, in India, its in the process of establishing itself.
3. Disclosure: We allow users of our site, to compare, flight results from Airlines we show with OTAs. Also we get a commission from the OTA if a booking is done there. So in a sense, you may detect a shade of hypocrisy, in what I say, above.
But I have an explanation for that.  We do see that the majority of the bookings happen through the Airlines itself. Something like more than 95% of the bookings, we see, happen on the Airlines’ site. We give an option to the user, to catch any deals, which may happen at that point in time, which the OTAs do as part of their marketing.
So this blog post is about our world view, but we do accept the reality (of OTAs commanding a large mind share) and we try to make the best use of it. But we totally stand by what we say above, and believe that, it will serve the people better, if ‘Travel Search’ was the dominant model, rather that the ‘OTA’. Since Internet is also about removing redundancies, we believe ‘Travel Search’ is the model, which is going to survive and do well in the long run. Only time will tell…
Acknowledgement: Thanks to Patrick, Sanjeev, Abhinit, Rockey, Kalyan, Bharat, Vijay, Bal, Kiran and Iram for reading and reviewing drafts of this post.

‘Green’ is the word in vogue, along with other phrases like ‘Carbon footprint’, and rightly so, whenever there is talk about eco-friendliness or lack of it.

So here is one simple thought to ponder. Travel Search is more ‘green’ …!

To complete the phrase:

‘Travel Search’ model is more ‘green’ than the Online Travel Agent (OTA) model.

First lets define what ‘green’ means in this context. Green means being eco-friendly, which means doing things in a way, which is light on the environment. That is, in simple terms we can define it as: ‘Consume less and produce more’.

For the uninitiated: Travel Search Engines allow the users to search on their sites and for booking take them to the Airline site (or Railways/IRCTC). Whereas OTA sites give a search option to the user, and also make the users book with them.

Now lets go on and explore why Travel Search is more ‘green’.

People who want to travel need to compare flight (or train) options before buying –  i.e. search the cheapest and the best flight (or train). So some kind of search on top of the Airlines sites and Railway sites is required. Else the user will have to do the comparison on various sites themselves. Both the Travel Search model and the OTA model fulfill that need.

One thing which OTA also additionally provide to the user is booking. I contest, it is this aspect which makes it less eco-friendly to the entire flight booking eco-system. It creates an extra (larglely redundant) middle layer of providing the booking itself. Which the Airlines themselves do, very nicely.

In doing so, it adds a thick layer of actions, which are largely duplicated and can easily be performed by the Airline itself (Or by the Railways/IRCTC).

To meet this extra cost, it has to charge heavy commissions. So it adds significant cost to Air travel, by charging commissions often as high as 7-8%.

In addition, the OTAs charge their own cancellation fee (or a change fee), in case of cancellation or a change in itinerary. It also has to run call centers, since it does booking. Also it can come in the way of loyalty programs between the customer and the Airline (Some of them make it workable, but its not straight forward).

Travel Search is more green

Now compare this with what ‘Travel Search’ does. It serves an essential function, of allowing travellers to compare flight options (or train options or both) and choose the best flight (or train or a bus). And doesn’t duplicate the function of booking, which the Airlines do equally well.

It costs less to the eco-system. The referrals paid to travel search players are typically just about 1/10th of the hefty commissions which the Airlines pay to the OTAs. (For this reason its less attractive to VCs, but that’s another story)

It costs less to build. Just a small team of may be around 10/20 people, who sit in a garage (and largely survive on Maggie noodles!) to build a nice and strong search engine. Which allows the users to search the best flight and book directly at the Airline.

Compare this with typically hundreds of employees employed by an OTA, largely to fulfill the additional function of booking.

But don’t the OTAs offer lots of deals and discounts? Yes they do. But in simple terms, it adds further to your average travel cost, as the discount and deals on may be less than 5% of all the bookings/routes, increase the cost of overall bookings. As they have to earn money, and somebody has got to pay for it. The deals and discounts, serve mainly a marketing purpose.

So Travel Search, costs less to build. And gives more value to the user – in terms of providing just what the user wants and then getting out of the user’s way. Less is indeed More – and Travel Search model is yet another example of that!

This is our honest opinion, and would love to debate this, and learn more about it. If you agree to this, then please spread the word about us and this model, to your family and friends (we don’t have the budgets for a TV advertising you see!)

Footnotes:

1. Travel Agents: We believe all the field travel agents (i.e. the ones having a physical presence in form a store, you can walk-in to), serve a very important need, and the above argument does not apply there. Majority of the folks in India, still purchase their travel offline.

2. OTA evolution: It will be unfair to not even mention a bit on the history of this Industry. In the pre-internet days, when travel agents in US had to do bookings for their customers, they relied on Global distribution systems (GDS) – like Sabre, Amadeus etc. to do the booking. So in a way, the GDSes, used to manage the entire Airline seat inventory. The first generation of online booking sites, didn’t sort of look at the system, from a clean slate view, and just moved everything online –> Online Travel Agent (OTA). Travel Search is a clean-slate perspective, of looking at things overall. It has established itself in US, firmly, with the likes of Kayak. Now, in India, its in the process of establishing itself.

3. Disclosure: We allow users of our site, to compare flight results from Airlines with OTAs. Also we get a commission from the OTA if a booking is done there. So in a sense, you may detect a shade of hypocrisy, in what I say, above.

But I have an explanation for that. We do see that the majority of the bookings happen through the Airlines itself. Something like more than 95% of the bookings, we see, happen on the Airlines’ site. We give an option to the user, to catch any deals, which may happen at that point in time, which the OTAs do as part of their marketing.

So this blog post is about our world view, but we do accept the reality (of OTAs commanding a large mind share) and we try to make the best use of it. But we totally stand by what we say above, and believe that, it will serve the people better, when ‘Travel Search’ is the dominant model, rather that the ‘OTA’. Since Internet is also about removing redundancies, we believe ‘Travel Search’ is the model, which is going to survive and do well in the long run. Only time will tell…

Acknowledgement: Thanks to Patrick, Sanjeev, Abhinit, Rockey, Kalyan, Barry, Vijay, Birla, Gopi, Kiran and Iram for reading and reviewing drafts of this post.

Discount on round trip flight bookings

Monday, December 13th, 2010

The usual way, for booking flight trips in India has been, separate bookings for onward and return flights. That is primarily because of two reasons:

1. Better management of changes in travel plans of onward and return trips. Say, if the return date of travel changes, then you just need to change the ticket for return journey, and not for the entire journey.

2. Also there were no incentives in terms of discounts in booking round trip tickets.

But in the past few months, several Airlines have started to give significant discounts on the purchase of Round trip tickets. For example on a Go Air ticket from Mumbai to Delhi and back, you can save around Rs. 1500/-, if you book a round trip ticket vs. separate onward and return tickets.

See the example search below:

1) Onward Booking fare: Rs. 5376/-

onward_flight_booking

2) Return booking fare: Rs. 4976/-

return_flight_booking

3) 2-way booking (discounted) fare: Rs. 8762/-

2_way_flight_booking

So for this travel you can save 1592/- if you book 2-way.

But is there a catch?

Not really, just that you need to read the terms & conditions carefully for such bookings. Typically, if you expect the travel dates to change, then it may be better to have separate bookings, as the cancellation/change charges will apply on the entire ticket.

But if you are sort of sure, of the travel plans, then it is worth while, to book it in a single ticket and save money.

Try it out by firing out some two way flight searches. And let us know, if its helpful:

microreviews.org reviews 90di; interviews me – Thanks to twitter!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Heard that @Infosys recently closed a deal on Twitter? @90di got a review and interview done.  Thanks to twitter.

Arkid Mitra from microreviews.org contacted 90di.com on twitter for an interview as part of their new series “start-up reviews and interviews”.  The interview was conducted on the same day. The very next day they published it. You can read the full article on microreviews.org.

They have done a wonderful job by doing a comprehensive review of 90di.com. There have pointed out some of the shortcomings of 90di. We need these kind of reviews and feedback. We will address these points.

But couple of things we wanted to clarify:

  • Mumbai to Nazira: Yes we do not show routes from Mumbai to Nazira. But we do ‘Near Search’ for this. Nazira doesn’t have Train or Flight connectivity. So we give options where users can choose a ‘big place’ near to Nazira. This list includes Dibrugarh. So if user chooses Dibrugarh, we show routes from Mumbai to Dibrugarh.
  • Mumbai to Jammu via Lucknow: 90di understands this query as the user wants routes between Mumbai and Jammu which passes through Lucknow. Since there are direct Train/Flights available between Mumbai and Jammu, we show the direct routes first. We also show the routes which have transit at Lucknow. But we agree that  in order to not confuse the user, we can remove the direct routes (being extra nice can confuse the user 🙂 just give him what he wants)

Thanks again to Arkid and microreviews.org folks for doing an effort review. All the best for your site folks!

Improved flight search results – connecting flights with single booking

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

We are continuously trying to improve our search results along with other enhancements. In this effort, we are now showing the connecting flights from the same service provider which you can book in one single click.

For example if you search for “Goa to Kolkata flights on sunday“,  you will see the connecting flights which you can book in one single click.

Connecting flights with single booking

Fig: Connecting flights with single booking

90di has got a new look for its results page

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Bored looking at the same existing ui?

Here is a new and fresh look and feel for our search results page.

We have tried to show the results in more user friendly manner.

We have avoided the repetitions (The departure and arrival times used to repeat). In routes which involve at least one change-over, we are now showing the wait time at the transit station.

Along with this we have made some changes to how we get the routes. We now fetch the routes on demand. If you search from Bangalore to Mumbai, initially we show you the train routes. We get the flight routes only if you are interested in it, i.e, if you click on Flights tab. This applies to Bus and Train+Flight routes also. With this we have avoided loading your browser with routes which you don’t want.

Try it out and tell us what you feel about our new UI.

Please see the below images to understand the changes. The images on the left hand side are of the old UI and those on the right hand side are of the new UI.

Flight view in old version

Flight view in old version

Flight view in new version

Flight view in new version

Train view in old version

Train view in old version

Train view in new version

Train view in new version

Bus view in old version

Bus view in old version

Bus view in new version

Bus view in new version

Train+Flight view in old version

Train+Flight view in old version

Train+Flight view in new version

Train+Flight view in new version

Improved flight search – Route Ranking for flights

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Last week we released Route ranking for trains. Now we have it for flights too. Once you click on the stars which depict the rating you see a pull down as shown in picture below:

flight route rating dialog

flight route rating dialog

You can see the the 90di engine tries to analyze a lot of parameters that makes sense for a flight journey, e.g. the carrier type, overall duration etc. and gives a ranking to the route on a scale of 10.

You can give your opinion on the engine’s analysis as well as give comments about any aspect of the route.

We intend to use your comments to improve the engine’s analysis and ranking further over time.

Your comments are most welcome.

Availability for direct Flights and Trains between given two places

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

We have earlier added the functionality to find all the direct flights and trains between two places. We have enhanced this by providing the check availability feature.

For example, when you search for mumbai to kolkata you will get a list of trains and flights.

flights & trains between Mumbai and Kolkata

Now you can click on “Get Availability” link. You need to specify the departing station, arriving station, date and travel class (for trains).

Getting availability for train

Then we will get the availability for that train/fight.

Availability details for train

You can book the trains either at ClearTrip or at IRCTC.

We take you the home page of IRCTC, as you need to log in before doing anything.

But, for ClearTrip, we take you the page where all the details are pre-populated.