Since the beginning online travel search has meant providing users with a price comparison from different airlines and allowing the user to book directly from the online agency. This is how Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, Travelocity, and many others operate.
FrugalFlyer.com takes a fundamentally different approach. FrugalFlyer.com uses its own proprietary search engine and database to select the airlines that meet the user’s need and then retrieves and displays offers direct from each airline. This approach allows the user to see the full offer from each airline. Traditional online travel agencies focus on price and schedule. The limited view provided by these online travel agencies has been a source of conflict with the airlines because the airlines claim it reduces their product to a commodity. Instead, the airlines point out that they offer a broad array of services from wifi in flight, extra legroom, flexible scheduling, premium seating, baggage services, priority boarding, and more. In addition, the cost differential between first, business and economy seating varies by flight and the opportunity to compare the cost of upgrading is usually not available for consideration on the online travel sites.
FrugalFlyer.com displays the full offer from the airline at the airline’s site. Further, the user is able to compare this offer with the full offer from other airlines. In addition, FrugalFlyer.com allows the user to compare the offers direct from the airlines with the offers from the online travel agency. FrugalFlyer.com displays the offers in different windows and allows the user to easily switch between offers by simply tapping a tab.
In recent years the airlines have made major investments improving their websites and online offerings including online check-in, mobile boarding passes, seat selection, upgrade requests, review and modify reservations, instant updates, in-flight services, flight status, and more. FrugalFlyer.com provides the user with direct access to the offers at the airline’s site so they can take advantage of the information and features provided.
Likewise with hotels, FrugalFlyer.com identifies the hotels which meet the user’s needs and takes the user directly to the hotel’s website to view their offer. User’s can view offers from Marriott, Hilton, Holiday Inn, and other major hotels directly at the hotel’s website.
Finally, FrugalFlyer.com provides this same approach for rental cars. FrugalFlyer.com lets the user view offers direct from Hertz, Avis, Budget, and other major rental car companies direct at their website. FrugalFlyer.com also facilitates easy booking from these sites using the user’s reward account information.
We call FrugalFlyer.com’s fundamentally different approach "real choice".