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The Agony and the Ecstasy

Hipmunk: A simple travel site


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Travel sites are a dime-a-dozen. And most of them are complex to use. That’s why we find this new start-up particularly refreshing. Hipmunk (hipmunk.com ) greets you with a goofy-looking chipmunk in WW I aviator helmet and scarf, and an interface that’s almost Google-simple: Just ‘from’ and ‘to’ places, date, class, airline preference if you have one, and hit ‘Search’. You then get a very simple graphic: Flight time on one axis, price on the other, coloured strips showing flight duration, airlines taken, and stopovers.

Very easy to compare them all. You can then sort by price, departure or arrival times, stops or duration, or add in things like ‘no early morning departures’ or ‘only morning arrivals’. Best of all: The ‘agony’ button, which factors in all those criteria and presents the least agonising flights on top. Limitation: Actual ticket purchases are referred to an outside provider, and there’s only one on the list right now, Orbitz (expect more choices soon).