The Fare Predicting Game Gets Hot with FLYR
Just a few weeks ago, T+L broke down the inner workings of Hopper, a new app that helps users decide the right time to buy flights, depending on historical trends and current fare fluctuations. Now, another name is breaking into the fare-predicting scene: FLYR. Still a nascent start-up, FLYR takes a different approach than Hopper or Kayak: it allows you to follow a specific flight rather than an entire route.
“When you’re thinking about buying a flight, say, between JFK and SFO, you’re not buying a route—you’re buying a single fare along that route,” FLYR Founder Cyril Guiraud tells T+L. “It’s no different than asking a weather app about the temperature, and getting averages for all of California when what you really want is the specific data for San Francisco.”
To resolve that issue, FLYR allows you to further refine your search before getting predictive data: maybe you know you want to leave first thing in the morning, that you want a non-stop flight, or would like to earn points with a specific airline. To accommodate those parameters, FLYR waits for you to pick an ideal itinerary before showing you a wait or buy recommendation. Also provided for each individual flight number: seven-day graphs showing how prices might fluctuate in the week ahead, along with the estimated probability that prices will rise, fall, or stay the same. Click on the “better deals” icon and you’ll see the likelihood of finding a better deal in the upcoming week.
This kind of robust, hyper-specific information isn’t the only thing that makes FLYR different. A proprietary predictions algorithm blends historical prices and machine learning technology, which tracks patterns across enormous swaths of airfare data. FareBeacon, an alerts tool, is integrated throughout, letting you sign up for email notifications on any specific flight number, and soon, it will be joined by FareKeep, a product that will offer price protection (a sign that FLYR is willing to put their money where their mouth is).
As it stands, the site is a very promising work in progress: currently, it supports 2,000 domestic routes, accounting for roughly 80 percent of U.S. air traffic, and international expansion is on the horizon (so is an iOS app). And while we’ve generally loved the comprehensive, bordering-on-obsessive amount information, it does, on occasion, paint an unclear or confusing picture—which is simply a factor of how complex and, dare I say it, unpredictable airline pricing can be. That said, the fare predicting space is a fast-growing space, and FLYR is most certainly one to watch.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.