The Secret to Booking the Cheapest Flight Possible? Robots.

Aw look at them. They want to help.

September 18, 2017 9:00 am

Since the ’80s are back — in all its big-shouldered, kids-roaming-small-towns-on-bikes-in-search-of-monsters glory — it probably stands to reason that travel agents are getting a second look, too.

If you’re rich, you’ll call yours a personal concierge, or some other branded nonsense.

If you’re part of the hoi polloi, you may very well call yours Hopper Flex Time. As Hopper itself puts it: “[This is] our next big step in turning the Hopper Bunny into an AI-driven ‘travel agent.’

For the uninitiated, Hopper’s a solid travel booking app. Ours is currently set up with a half-dozen alerts, set to ping us the next time an affordable flight to, say, Cape Town comes up. Hopper is building on that modest success with Flex Time, which was made to satisfy travelers who haven’t quite figured out what they want (which is a lot of us). Maybe you know the basics. Say, you want to go to the South Pacific for 10 days at some point between January and March — Hopper Flex Time can handle that. Think of it as an upgrade on what’s currently on offer: the ubiquitous “Search +- 3 days” feature seen everywhere from Kayak to Skyscanner and Orbitz. 

Here’s how it works: You start by giving Hopper a destination. This can be as vague as “Anywhere” or as specific as a particular city (you can also set it to search deals in specific continents, geographic regions, counties, and states). Then you tell it roughly when you want to go, and how long your trip will be. Hopper does the rest, pushing notifications if a sweet deal comes up that meets your criteria. 

We’re thinking: Hawaii, six days, January or February, and we’re looking for a price tag under $500.

Don’t let us down, Hopper!


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