I’ve been of the opinion that things were as good as they were ever going to get as far as booking air travel online. The prices were set by those with powers way beyond my own, and no matter what “tips” I tried, getting a good deal always seemed to be more about luck than anything else. I’m absolutely positive that I’m not the only person frustrated by the process. Recently, however, my hopes have been renewed.
FlyinAway is a Denver-based startup founded by airline industry veterans Eric Lanier and Lowell Miller. Lanier spent several years working for Frontier Airlines and recently moved into the ecommerce and product development space for a Fortune 500 company. He also has some past startup experience. Miller has over 25 years in the airline industry and serves as a strategic advisor to the company. Besides the founders, FlyinAway boasts a well-rounded team and a group of very experienced advisors.
The main goal of FlyinAway is to put the traveler in charge of pricing (to a degree, of course). Travelers can choose a route and then vote one it. When the flight gets a certain number of votes, it goes to live auction. You then get to bid on a flight or try to outbid others. When the auction ends, the winner can book the flight on their own schedule.
According to Lanier, the long-term vision for the company goes way beyond its current product.
“We want to be a platform that powers a new model for the travel ecosystem. We want our members to enjoy awesome benefits at every moment of their trip…not just great airfare deals. When we become this platform, other sites will connect into us for fares they simply can’t find elsewhere. This makes us a great middleman aggregator of travel content for agencies and other content providers, and changes the way the distribution model in the travel space is currently laid out.”
Similar to Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” feature, FlyinAway does not let you choose your own airline, but they do guarantee it will be a major US carrier. Also, at this time, bidding is limited to domestic routes and flights must be booked at least 30 days out, so if you’re looking to hit the skies within the next couple weeks, you’ll have to go elsewhere.
As someone who spends hours hunting for the best travel deals, I totally dig what FlyinAway is doing. I look forward to seeing their services expand and using them in the future.
FlyinAway was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail Denver mixer in September.