Thursday, November 02, 2006

Airline Reservations -- an Information Arms Race

Some of the first supercomputers purchased by the private sector were used to calculate airline schedules and fares. Today, the customer is fighting back, first through search engines like Orbitz and Travelocity, then through meta search engines, and finally through some sweet AI.

Here's the website I'd always wanted to make, in beta of course:

Once works for more cities it could be even better. Who knows? maybe the economists' models will someday be vindicated and the customer really will have access to "perfect information".

On the flip side, some airlines are giving up on the substantial overhead of algorithmic airfares and are offering unvarying flat rates.

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