Twenty-five percent of Americans use their cell phones instead of a computer for the majority of their web surfing, according to the Pew Internet Project. That means things we traditionally did online will now be moving to app format, including planning vacations.
A new app called CheapOair looks to be the Travelocity of the app world. Using CheapOair, you can book flights, hotel rooms, and rent cars. The site even has a top 25 deals section and an area for vacation packages. There’s even a Hunger Games package.
Yes, you read that right. A Hunger Games package.
CheapOair is offering flights to Charlotte, NC, with a hotel and airfare deal that allows you to spend time in the spot where the film’s production took place.
DuPont State Recreational Forest was the real-life location of the arena depicted in the film. Since Hunger Games fever is overtaking the nation right now, CheapOair knows what it’s doing. In addition to promoting the spot where Peeta hid in the film, the service is promoting the sites the cast visited on their off hours.
It’s important to note that CheapOair isn’t offering a Hunger Games tour package as part of the deal. This was just a catchy way of promoting a trip to Charlotte. It worked, too, getting CheapOair mentioned in numerous publications and blogs and helping further increase the service’s visibility. It’s already among the more popular iPhone apps, with a 5 of 5 rating in the app store, although the site itself has received more than a few complaints over the years. While there are other apps offering users the ability to book hotel rooms and flights together, CheapOair is the highest rated.
You can book flights and hotel rooms through efficiently designed interface, so you can quickly research and choose your best option,” AppSafari states in its review of CheapOair. “Your airline tickets are presented on the same screen within a carnival game ticket graphic. The modern, fun vibe is refreshing, as well as the great travel tips that pop-up during the app’s searches.”
Because smartphone access requires an easy-to-use interface, CheapOair has customized its design for the smartphone user. You’ll be able to sort flights by departure time, arrival time, price, and number of stops. If you’re looking for a hotel room, you can sort by price, popularity, or user reviews. CheapOair is so great, it was one of three finalists for the Appy Award this year in the Travel category. It lost to MyCityWay USA, an app that helps travelers navigate a city like a local.
The app is ideal for the frequent traveler, allowing users to save preferences for future bookings.
So if you have a meal preference or need an aisle seat, you can save that information. Plus, by booking through your iPhone, you’ll have all of your information handy in case you need it on your trip. After you book, you can pull up the app at any time to view your travel information and get any updates that apply to your trip.
That’s probably the best part of the app. Having everything about your flight, hotel room, and car rental reservation conveniently stored in your phone can make your trip go smoothly. This might be a good tip for sites like Expedia and Travelocity. Even if users make all their reservations via computer, an app that stored all of that user’s trip information in one convenient location might be welcomed by those of us who never are anywhere without smartphone access.
CheapOair’s help extends beyond booking your trip. The app allows you to create a packing list, check weather, and get baggage fee information. An integrated blog provides general travel tips and great places to visit.
But would you want to book an entire trip on your iPhone?
I may be glued to my iPhone, but there are some things I prefer to do on a full-blown computer. Travel apps are great for when I’m already on my trip, but when I’m booking my flight I’m still at home. But since experts are saying users are increasingly choosing smartphones over computers for surfing, CheapOair is obviously on the right track.
As for the complaints, some users say the trips aren’t as cheap as other services are offering, so shop around. Unfortunately, that’s not so easy on your smartphone. While it’s not as easy to use, the Travelocity app lets you book hotels and flights, allowing you to comparison shop directly from your phone. By comparing prices, you can at least determine if CheapOair is giving you the best deal.