Updated Hipmunk iOS app offers better features and more stability

Feb 15, 2012
Tech

We’re the first to admit that the initial review of Hipmunk we ran last year by Appolicious Advisor Nick Nebelsky was certainly less than flattering. However, it seemed worth giving the Hipmunk Flight & Hotel Search app another look, especially now it added the ability to search for hotels to the mix. To the uninitiated, […]

We’re the first to admit that the initial review of Hipmunk we ran last year by Appolicious Advisor Nick Nebelsky was certainly less than flattering. However, it seemed worth giving the Hipmunk Flight & Hotel Search app another look, especially now it added the ability to search for hotels to the mix.

To the uninitiated, Hipmunk, unlike other flight search apps out there, presents the results you get from it sorted by ‘agony’. So, once you’ve plugged in your departure and arrival airports, dates of travel, number of passengers and class, you’re presented with a grid of potential flights which are algorithmically sorted from least agonizing to most agonizing. The algorithm takes into account factors like layovers, flight delays, airports traveled through and price. It’s a nifty way to search for a flight, and once you’ve chosen your favored route and airline, the app sends you out to an external website (like Orbitz, or the airline’s site itself) to finalize the booking and pay.

The new hotel search feature the app now offers is a very pleasant addition. The app will automatically find your location and then present a map of hotels nearby. These are sorted by color circles. Green means the hotel is at the cheaper end of the scale, blue signifies an average price, and red is reserved for the costlier end of the market. It’s a simple and effective way to judge which hotels nearby are worth investigating. Once you select one, you can read reviews courtesy of TripAdvisor and if you choose to book a particular location, once again you’ll be sent out to an external site (like Hotels.com) to finalize and complete the booking.

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In my testing, the app proved to be reliable and stable. Prices for flights and airlines seemed comparable to other flight and hotel search engines out there. One disappointing aspect is that the ability to combine flights and hotels together for a vacation package like Expedia and Travelocity can do, is missing from Hipmunk. This is often a great way to save some money.

Essentially, though, Hipmunk is more about offering a convenient way to search for flights or hotels and leaves the booking and reservation side of things to the user to perform elsewhere. Fortunately, it does this exceptionally well with a clear, crisp design and an easy-to-use interface.

We’re glad we got to give Hipmunk another test run. It’s clear the developers have worked hard to improve their app and it’s an excellent way to find less agonizing flights in a world of airport delays and spiralling flight costs. The extra hotel search capability just adds another extra dimension of usefulness.

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Stephen Danos

Stephen Danos is the Associate Editor for appoLearning.com, AndroidApps.com, and Appolicious. He has contributed to articles published on TechCrunchThe Chicago Sun TimesThe Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere.

He received his BA in English from the University of Iowa and MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Playhouse State (H_NGM_N Books, 2012) and Gravitational (The New Megaphone, forthcoming).

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