Disclaimer: This article has educational and informational character
You may probably be questioned what this post is about and how can it be related to flight deals…We were hesitating till the last minute about publishing it, but due to a excessive abuse (more information down the post) it was decided to release it.
As you know, there are some websites/blogs (targeted for USA auditory) with flight deals:
MileAge Run (forums)
and AirfareSpot (we are probably the youngest, we will not hide it)
People, which are part of “US travel community”, know these websites (if you do not know, that is a good list to check) if they want to getaway really fast somewhere or just like traveling and are ready to book and fly away.
Few words about each site:
Airfare Watchdog probably the oldest. With amazing feature of notifications for fares. Was featured on numerous resources. Which have their own search engine and group of bloggers seeking out for amazing fares. In a short – very trusted reputation.
Hopper – a startup (as had recent impressive fundings), which shows very interesting information in terms of prediction of the airfare, based on different factors. We do not know their logics, but apparently it is based on fare history, destination, season etc. Very interesting and descriptive, wrapped up in an amazing design. If you are not sure about the price of your tickets or hesitate to book – visit them and check predictions. Strongly recommend! Not to mention their application for the smartphone, which is of a very handy use. Basically, whole technological algorithm.
TheFlightDeal a website/blog, which posts deals to lots of destinations from USA. Approximately 5 year old. As well was featured on lots of travel resources. Pretty much unique everyday in terms of destinations. Worth checking and bookmarking.
ExitFares amazing blogroll of deals from all travel blog and websites. They are like aggregator of all discounted fares, which you can find on the websites list mentioned above. Their posts have links to other resources. Not to mention their newsletter with best find/deals/discounted fares (once a day). Deffo a bookmark!
ThriftyTraveler pretty young blog/website as we are, with “headquarters” in Minneapolis. So if you live close to this area, it does make sense to check them regularly! As they post lots of deals and finds for their home airport and not only.
MileAge Run Deals (forums) very old forum-oriented website with lots of discussions on airlines/flights/travel. More oriented on Millage Run tickets or long flights, which accumulate lots of miles and points for a discounted price. Pretty often people post deals and “finds” from the websites list, mentioned earlier in this post.
TravelPirates a blog (with impressive 6mln followers), which posts mostly vacation deals (combination of flight deal, hotel, car rent). Which is of a great help for people! Sometimes they post just flights. One concern – they always mention phrase “we found” and this flight deal (pretty often) appeared to be already posted everywhere and no mentioning of original source 😉 Still, worth a shot if you like to book already “precrafted” vacation.
FareCompare basically aggregator/online travel agency, where you can check and compare prices on different travel booking website like Priceline, Expedia etc. With notifications. Usually they post deals like “a bunch of from different airports to specific destination” or airline’s promotions. Worth checking of you want to compare.
There are 2 websites, which are left: Fly4Free and Secret Flying.
First of all we would like to remind once again that this article has informational and education character.
There is a simply rule of blogging – give references, attributions to original source/owner/author (photo/audio cases). Not only it is an act of respect to the work of other people, but contribution to the travel community and, simply, to google search engines to understand information correctly. (Not to mention SEO attribution of backlinks)
Lets be frank – there is no copyright for information about flights. As everyone can find it, the only thing – you just need to know where to look for it and where to dig.
How do we (AirfareSpot) find our deals? We use Matrix – Ita Software, Google.com/Flights, check actual airlines websites, we are subscribed to lots of airlines and their newsletters. As we are affiliated with main online travel agencies we also receive notifications about future promotions. (And couple more techniques, which we would like not share here in the post). We go through this lump of information and post only most interesting, lowest and best deals. Sometimes working day starts as early as 6-7 am and can be over late at night. In a short – it is pretty time-consuming. But we DO like it 😉 And to be frank, that can be a little bit frustrating that some websites just take advantage of it. Once again – there is no copyright, and we are happy if people will be traveling most affordable way (this is part of our philosophy and idea of creating AFS), but small mentioning of the original source with link as a respect to the work of others would be more than enough (we are talking not only about AFS, but every single source). Moreover, it is just a simple unwritten rule of blogging or managing the website with lots of daily posts – respect the work of others.
Reaching Fly4Free via their e-mail – had no response. We hope they just have not received this notice-request due to technical reasons or not checking inbox regularly.
Reaching Secret Flying ended up with accusing us with copying their design of the website. And actually response was pretty rude and disrespectful. We tried to be friends (on professional level), reached them out with positive note of cooperation, but, apparently, Secret Flying do not care. We have to mention that we talk only about USA deals, as we have no info about their european “finds”.
So we have decided to look throughly the USA deals, shared by Secret Flying. Here are some screenshots….and here are the results. (AFS stands for AirfareSpot)
You can also easily track it: every single of the websites has Twitter account which still lines up and arranges everything according time shared. So you can see the roll of shares with time stamps.
How do we know if we have been copied?
Well, lets explain it this way. When we are checking our fellow websites/competitors regularly (as all of them do the same), for several times a day – so there is pretty much whole picture, who is posting, who is copying, or who was first and who “catches up”.
Some people may say – coincidence. Yes, may be. As, for example, TheFlightDeal and we (AirfreSpot) pretty often have some deals scheduled for the morning, so people wake up and there is already something posted. Possible. But it is 1 post a month. As there are so many destinations, combinations and airlines. In Secret Flying situation it is hard to believe that it was not copied as posts “strangely” appear just after was already shared on AFS, TheFlightDeal or Fly4Free.
We would like to believe it is sincere coincidence, but looking at the time stamp screenshots (reflecting sharing in minutes ago) – it is hard to believe in it. And in our case we had 2 separate posts from Los Angeles to Paris or Amsterdam and Los Angeles to London or Frankfurt. As we can see same 2 posts from Secret Flying…
And we can provide lots of examples for TheFlightDeal as well. Unfortunately, it happens every single day. Too many coincidences.
Are we complaining? (As we had comment from one of our twitter followers). Not any more 🙂 But it DOES irritate when someone tries to take benefit from other’s work and take monetary advantage of it.
Once again – it is informative post to share some “backstages”. We do also understand that it may call some negative reactions, as we do believe and know they (Secret Flying) used to be and are a very interesting resource with flight deals. And we do want to believe there are coincidences, but they are too numerous every single day.Which is simply unfair to others.
Do we use other websites? If the deal is really good we will definitely share it with our followers, but we always try to give attribution. Also, sometimes it is really hard to track the original source of the great find, so we mention the first resource we saw or ExitFares as they are pretty good with time stamps.
The websites, which give attributions (based on our research) are ExitFares, TheFlightDeal, ThriftyTraveler ( lately stopped doing that for some unknown reasons).
Another good example: a website of ThePointsGuy, a travel blog of best usage travel credit cards and how you can use them to lower your expenses on travels. Despite the millions of followers and incredible success with millions of page views every month – always give appropriate credit to the original source. So, it, basically, depends on the professionalism of the site and people, who run this website/blog.
And last example: TravelAndLeisure has also started posting flight deals. And recent their shares feature mentions of Airfare Spot and TheFlightDeal…which just proves their professionalism.
Message to Secret Flying: You, guys, are probably reading that, so the website design is called PINTEREST STYLE, and arose after Pinterest appearance. Basically, you are copying Pinterest as well 🙂 We still hope for your understanding and respecting other sources and that you can make right decisions.
We also may be mistaken, there might be other resources, but it was under observation for at least a month…too many everyday coincidences.
We hope and believe in understanding as well as of our followers, as well as fellow-websites and their readers.
“Treat others as you would like to be treated…”
p.s. And despite all these challenging situation we will keep posting amazing flight deals as TRAVEL IS AFFORDABLE! 😉