Last week during our Twitter chat on Best Apps & Websites for Travelers, we asked participants what travel app they’d invent, if given the opportunity. The resounding ask? HotelTonight for flights. Dear readers: ask and you shall receive.
This week, Hopper, a data-driven fare finder that’s largely flown under the radar, is jumping into the spotlight with its new Flight Tonight app. Available for iOS 7 devices, the app aggregates last-minute fares and offers a snapshot of where you could go if you wanted to—quite literally—fly by the seat of your pants. Today’s searches pulled up flights from New York to Savannah for $280, Los Angeles to Vancouver for $352, and Miami to the Bahamas for $282—all round trip fares.
How it works: While HotelTonight looks for unsold rooms that it can push through at a discount, Flight Tonight takes a different route. It aggregates available flights from a combined feed of GDS (Global Distribution Service) data, and trawls through billions of trips to find the lowest fares from any departure point at any given moment. Results change at a rapid rate—almost minute by minute—though new data doesn’t pop up in real time unless you refresh. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be fast addicted—having the temptation of spontaneous travel in the palm of your hand is truly difficult to resist.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.