New Site Helps Flyers Find ‘Happy’ Flights

Consumer advocate Ed Perkins weighs in on the newest airfare booking site.

Routehappy, a recently launched airfare booking site, promises to help flyers find the “happiest” flights—not just the cheapest. The site helps travelers find better flight experiences by sorting tickets based on “happiness factors.” But a first look seems to indicate that the algorithm incorporating those happiness factors may need work.

Supposedly, the factors that determine the happiness or quality of a flight include length and time of flights, seat room, in-flight entertainment, availability of Wi-Fi, and more. But my initial check gave results that wouldn’t make me happy.

From my home airport in Medford, Oregon to San Francisco, Routehappy gave equal happiness factors to flights on tiny, cramped Embrear 120 turboprops, as well as the faster, smoother, and all-round better flights on Canadair regional jets. Both flights cost the same.

For an itinerary from San Francisco to New York, Routehappy returned flights only on Virgin America, despite the fact that JetBlue provides better leg room, good in-flight entertainment, and a no-charge checked bag.

All in all, my first take is that Routehappy isn’t quite ready for prime time. But if you’re intrigued by the concept, by all means take a look—as the saying goes, it can’t hurt.

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By Ed Perkins

A nationally recognized reporter, writer, and consumer advocate, Ed Perkins focuses on how travelers can find the best deals and avoid scams.

He is the author of "Online Travel" (2000) and "Business Travel: When It's Your Money" (2004), the first step-by-step guide specifically written for small business and self-employed professional travelers. He was also the co-author of the annual "Best Travel Deals" series from Consumers Union.

Perkins' advice for business travelers is featured on MyBusinessTravel.com, a website devoted to helping small business and self-employed professional travelers find the best value for their travel dollars.

Perkins was founding editor of Consumer Reports Travel Letter, one of the country's most influential travel publications, from which he retired in 1998. He has also written for Business Traveller magazine (London).

Perkins' travel expertise has led to frequent television appearances, including ABC's "Good Morning America" and "This Week with David Brinkley," "The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather," CNN, and numerous local TV and radio stations.

Before editing Consumer Reports Travel Letter, Perkins spent 25 years in travel research and consulting with assignments ranging from national tourism development strategies to the design of computer-based tourism models.

Born in Evanston, Illinois, Perkins lives in Ashland, Oregon with his wife.

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