Taking (Some) of the Agony out of Air Travel

Air travel is an extremely emotional experience, yet very few companies have leveraged emotion as a way to enhance the air travel experience. Southwest has sought to make a more enjoyable and pleasant flight experience overall; others are beginning to look for new ways to connect the emotion of their customers to their services. Now Hipmunk, a new flight search website, has brought emotion into how you actually find the flight. Instead of pages and pages of search results, Hipmunk sorts the results based on normal criteria that flyers mentally weigh when making travel plans including price, duration of flight and time of day. But on Hipmunk, by default the results are sorted by “Agony”, capturing the emotion that people realize when paying for their ticket, and contemplating the time traveling (which in the search is a combination of price, duration and number of stops for the flight). Rather than just giving visitors search results based on price alone, Hipmunk has realized that sometimes people are willing to pay more to avoid unpleasant travel situations. Although “agony” captures the negative emotions of travel, Hipmunk lightens that emotional stress by making the best choice easy to find, presented in a visually intuitive graph, letting customers know that the flight they have chose will have the least “agony”.

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