If you have to fly from Point A to Point B—whether for business or for pleasure—wouldn’t you like to be comfortable doing so? While a first-class or business-class ticket may score you a wider, more cushiony seat and extra legroom along with perks like pre-flight drinks and meals served with actual metal utensils, they also carry a hefty price tag. So, what’s an economy flyer with a limited budget to do?
Enter Routehappy, an experienced team of aviation, data and web geeks determined to help every traveler find the best flight he or she can afford. RewardExpert recently spoke with Megan Humphries, Routehappy’s director of marketing communications, about the company’s inspiration, how it works, and current trends in flight amenities.
Bringing Transparency to the Airline Industry
Routehappy was founded in 2011 by Robert Albert, the company’s current CEO. He felt that flight searches were too focused on ticket price as well as travel dates and times, and he wanted to add transparency to the airline industry by giving travelers more information on which to base their purchase decisions.
Today, Routehappy is primarily a business-to-business company focused on providing airlines and distributors with the information that today’s travelers want, such as flight amenities and scores as well as rich product content via Routehappy Hub.
While you can use the company’s real-time demo (located on the home page) to search and compare flights as a consumer, you’ll also benefit from Routehappy data when you use one of several other tools that integrate this information into search results. These currently include Expedia, Kayak, Google Flights and Skyscanner.
How Routehappy Works
“Flyers want value for money,” Humphries said. “They want to know what experience they will be having on a flight. While price and schedule are big purchasing factors, we know that people also care about the amenities they’ll receive. They want to be able to see if their flight has Wi-Fi, larger seats, seat-back entertainment, power to charge their devices, and food and beverages.”
Routehappy’s team of researchers tracks these details and more, continuously validating and updating data from hundreds of sources including more than 260 airlines.
Whether you choose to use the company’s free demo to research flights or one of the previously mentioned search tools to find and purchase airline tickets, you can access information on seven different amenities including:
- Seat (pitch, width and type)
- Aircraft (window size, pressurization, etc.)
- Layout (seating configuration)
- Wi-Fi (availability, quality and coverage)
- Entertainment (content type, delivery format, cost, etc.)
- Power (availability of power ports, USB ports and adaptor-required ports)
- Fresh Food (availability of non-shelf stable fresh food)
You’ll also benefit from Routehappy’s Flight Scores.
“We use an algorithm that comprehensively scores flight amenities plus relative leg duration compared to all other possible options,” Humphries explained. “This results in an unbiased flight-rating system for every flight worldwide.”
A quick demo search for flights from Denver to Chicago returned 110 options with scores ranging from 8.1 (high) to 4.6 (low) spanning five different airlines. Options could be sorted by rating, price, duration, departure or arrival time. They could also be filtered based on specific amenities, departure or arrival time, or airline.
One pleasant surprise: even some less expensive flights earned high scores from Routehappy.
“Many of the amenities that used to only be available to premium cabin passengers are now available to all passengers if you pick the right flight,” Humphries said. “Amenities like power outlets, free seatback on-demand entertainment, snacks, and even super-fast Wi-Fi can all be found in Economy, and these are all things that Routehappy data can help passengers find. Additionally, not all aircraft are the same. Routehappy helps flyers find economy flights with extra legroom and wider seats. It’s all out there for the taking; you just need to know where to look.”
Biggest New Trend: Wi-Fi and Streaming Entertainment
“Airlines have been investing heavily in products aboard their aircrafts and should be showing these investments off to customers at point of sale,” Humphries said when asked about recent amenities trends.
“The biggest and clearest trend emerging across airlines right now is the deployment of in-flight Wi-Fi and streaming entertainment,” she continued. “More than 70 airlines worldwide now offer Wi-Fi service, up from 59 last year. Additional airlines are primed and nearly ready to launch this service in the coming months. Those who aren’t quite ready to launch Wi-Fi are installing streaming entertainment, which is often available to passengers at no cost.”
Humphries explained that current technology is allowing airlines to install streaming entertainment systems in mere minutes, adding to the attractiveness of an amenity already popular with travelers.
“Overhead screens with looping TV shows that nobody wants to watch will soon become a thing of the past,” she concluded.