There are lots of new sites and apps designed to keep travelers informed and on the move – and please, travel tech geeks, keep ‘em coming – but too few of them come with the word happy in the name. Enter RouteHappy, a new site in beta with the goal of making flyers happier with the whole jetting-through-the-air-at-500-mph experience. The site’s interface is based on user-generated content, where travelers can let others know what was good, bad, shockingly great or terribly horrible about a given route, airport or airline. And who doesn’t have a few of those tips to share?
It’s a great concept, but therein is the challenge: The site relies on users to comment on their experiences, and as we all know from sites like Tripadvisor and Yelp, people are only likely to do this on either end of the spectrum. Yelp reviews tend to tell you if rounds of cocktails are free or if the bouncer is mean at a bar (just as an example, you see), while Tripadvisor seems to invite comment from people who either found bed bugs or $1,000 in cash in their room – it’s a self-selecting bunch. RouteHappy is wisely attempting the Foursquare route to correct this: Users gain points by commenting on different routes and airlines, and they can become route leaders for knowing their stuff about flights they take often.
The interface is thankfully simple for something that could get very complex as the site grows; hopefully the team will keep it that way going forward. The site is in beta at the moment, so many routes aren’t represented yet. We did a quick search for a flight from London to Dubrovnik on British Airways, and what came up was 60 reviews – but they were just reviews of BA itself, not that particular route. We didn’t expect much regarding the route, but sixty reviews of an airline like British Airways is pretty slim pickings. However, the site is about a week old, so we’re content to give a pass for now. Similarly, London – Barcelona only brought up one review. The case isn’t much different domestically: New York – LA only has four reviews, though all are fairly in-depth.
We look forward to seeing how RouteHappy develops in the future: It’s a site with a lot of potential, and could become something everyone checks before a prospective trip. More and more people are looking past price point – since there are so many hidden fees as it is, and the difference between what airlines truly offer on each route is becoming more clear – so this kind of info could help people make choices as they fly. Still, the site runs the risk of becoming one big complaintfest. After all, do we really care that a TSA agent was rude to you or that the prices were high for an airport cocktail? We didn’t really need a website to tell us that was going to happen.
[Top Photo: Getty]