BEAT THE AIR
New flight services help travelers outsmart airlines
Young consumers are beginning to regard prices as moveable rather than fixed. Services are available to help lower bills on their behalf or get them refunds when products they’ve purchased drop in price, and now companies that serve this role specifically for air travel are popping up to help travelers have a smooth and cost-effective flight experience.
Passengers with airlines disputes need only scan their boarding pass and the AirHelp app does the rest; with the information acquired from the boarding pass, the company tracks flight information that could entitle the user to a settlement from the airline, such as delays, cancellations, and overbooking. AirHelp litigates against companies on the user’s behalf, taking 25% if a settlement is paid out, which can be difficult for a passenger to achieve otherwise. For travelers stranded by delays, other services are offering layover activities.
Resembling an alternative form of flight insurance, travelers purchase Freebird coverage prior to their flight, and if it’s delayed or canceled, the app quickly offers alternative flights and covers the cost of the ticket. Coverage is $19 for a one-way trip or $34 for round trip flights. Freebird intends to fix a pain point many travelers experience in real time without any of the hassle. One of the app’s co-founders is a four-year Expedia veteran, and his experience in the industry is reportedly helping to set Freebird apart from similar services.
The Service app, which pursues complaints made by users of bad customer experiences with airlines, restaurants, and more, launched the Service Protect feature, which reduces the effort required on behalf of the consumer. Users must allow the company access to their email, which is scanned for items such as flight itineraries and receipts to monitor for delays, cancellations, and more. If an issue is detected, Service reaches out to the user to help them pursue compensation.