Online travel company Hipmunk has redesigned its search engine and now offers customers a way to eliminate basic economy flights, view legroom, baggage allowance and mileage credit earnings.
Goodbye, Basic Economy
Although Google Flights has become a go-to search engine for many travelers, it’s not perfect. For example, Google Flights doesn’t specify whether the cheapest flights are in basic economy cabin. Depending on the carrier, no-frill flights often don’t include a seat assignment until you’re at the gate, a standard-sized carry-on or even an opportunity to earn status credit. Hipmunk’s new search tool makes it easier to eliminate those basic fares from the search.
In this example, I searched for flights between Houston and Chicago, and Hipmunk specified that the selected flights were in basic economy that don’t offer any overhead space for a carry-on bag and don’t earn elite qualifying miles.
You can also view price comparison among service cabins on the same flight, when offered. If you’re not into bare bones fares, you can see how much it would cost to upgrade to main cabin or business class.
Another new feature lets you find out how many redeemable miles you would earn on a specific flight as a basic member. Unfortunately, the feature isn’t as advanced and doesn’t take your elite status into account when calculating mileage earnings. As you know, elites earn more miles on airlines that implement revenue-based loyalty programs, and you’d have to calculate your mileage earnings yourself in those cases.
You also can change the drop-down menu to show you amenities, aircraft type, Wi-Fi or baggage allowance information.
Should You Change Your Flight Search Habits?
The ability to search by cabin type and aircraft type are valuable additions to the possibilities. However, Hipmunk has its own quirks. For example, the search engine does not display flights operated by Delta Air Lines, which significantly limits your options for comparison shopping. Additionally, the mileage-earning tab doesn’t do any good for anyone with elite status. Having said that, not having to choose a flight only to find out it’s in basic economy, especially if it’s a long-haul journey, is a great addition to the flight search engine.
Are you more likely to use Hipmunk for your flight searching needs?