Online travel has changed with the emergence of aggregators as many sites follow the lead of Cheapflights.co.uk, which arrived in 1996. The once empty space is no longer lonely with the company’s sister site, U.S.-based Cheapflights.com, occupying a leading spot among other travel aggregators such as Sidestep, Mobissimo, Qixo, Yahoo’s FareChase and new entry Kayak.
What is an aggregator? Well, according to the American Heritage Dictionary:
One who aggregates or collects things. A program for watching for new content at user-specified feeds.
This new group of aggregator sites is different from traditional travel sites because these sites don’t sell tickets, are neutral third parties and offer a more comprehensive selection of bargains. Travelers get a view of the best deals available to their destination(s) - with the aggregators’ independent view of the marketplace, the sites offer a fresh perspective from the often complex and fragmented world of flight prices. On the business end, instead of selling travel and gaining a more traditional agency commission or markup, aggregators generally work on a cost per click-type model.
But, despite similar missions, aggregators are different from each other e.g. they don’t offer all of the same fares or content. One asks users to download software, another requires payment in foreign currency, one site charges $20 just to use it and many don’t offer fares from low-cost carriers and specialists with access to the best rates. Also, some of these neutral sites offer more services with alternate airport guides, travel links and other information.
As the trend continues towards the aggregator model, Cheapflights.com has separated itself through the pioneering work of Chief Executive David Soskin and Hugo Burge, chief operating officer, and president of U.S. operations. Cheapflights.com provides the most comprehensive snapshot of fares, even including low cost carriers such as Southwest and JetBlue and European fare savers Ryanair, and easyJet.
Offering users access to fares from traditional airlines, consolidators and specialists that are unknown to most travel searches, Cheapflights.com has shifted the playing field in favor of travelers. Among the site’s other advantages: telephone numbers for those who don’t wish to book online; access to “opaque” U.S. sites Hotwire and Priceline; and date ranges for travel, providing greater flexibility.
The most complete air fare aggregator, Cheapflights.com is simple to use, offers more fares than other bargain travel sites and gives travelers 350 departure points and 700 destinations for their traveling pleasure.