August 11, 2008
Kayak.Com Launches Several New Tools to Help Consumers Calculate the Total Cost of Travel
NORWALK, Conn., Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Record-high gas prices mean the cost of travel has risen dramatically, and increasingly higher prices are buried in fees and charges. Travelers only discover these higher costs when they arrive at the airline check-in desk and are charged an unexpected baggage fee or when they receive the credit card bill highlighting the total cost of gas for a rental car. To help travelers avoid these unpleasant surprises, Kayak.com has launched tools that educate travelers on the hidden costs of travel, enabling consumers to make a more informed decision about flights and rental car purchases.
"Higher oil prices affect travelers at every stage of their journey," said Drew Patterson, vice president of marketing at Kayak.com. "Airlines now levy fees on everything from blankets to baggage, making it difficult for travelers to budget their trip. Four dollar per gallon gas prices make rental cars a far more expensive proposition. To help consumers make sense of these changes, Kayak.com has enhanced its air and rental car search results with fee calculators and tables to expose factors that might sway the user's ultimate choice."
According to AAA, 40 percent of Americans altered their vacation plans this summer because of high gas prices. In response to the rising cost of renting a car, Kayak.com launched a Miles Per Gallon (MPG) filter and Fuel Cost Calculator on the results page of its rental car search http://www.kayak.com/cars in an effort to provide the relevant information travelers need to make smart decisions.
In an industry first, Kayak.com's Fuel Cost Calculator estimates the total cost of gas for a trip and instantly adds this figure to the daily rate of each car option. The Fuel Cost Calculator takes into consideration four factors: miles per gallon for each vehicle; average price of gas; number of estimated miles traveled during trip; and the type of driving including highway, city, and combination. While other gas calculators exist on the Web, Kayak.com is the only site that instantly updates the total price per day so users can compare the final price across rental car agencies and car class.
"Whether travelers are trying to save on green or be green, Kayak.com's rental car search helps them make better decisions," said Lincoln Jackson, director of product management at Kayak.com. "If you are traveling even a modest distance, the Fuel Cost Calculator can be used to find the best bargain - which is sometimes a more expensive car class with higher gas mileage. Eco warriors will like Kayak.com's new filter for hybrid vehicles, which allows users to compare prices for hybrids only or compare the MPG and price of hybrids alongside those of other car classes."
Kayak.com's new MPG slider allows users to set parameters for acceptable fuel efficiency. The MPG range is dictated by the car results that are returned. The MPG rating is derived from FuelEconomy.gov and car manufacturer data and allows travelers to choose the most fuel efficient vehicle available for their trip requirements.
Airline Fees Exposed with Handy Chart
In response to an increase in existing airline fees and the emergence of new fees, the total cost of a flight doesn't always end with the purchase. To help consumers calculate the total cost of their flight, Kayak.com has launched an Airline Fee Chart http://www.kayak.com/airline-fees allowing travelers to easily view and compare an airline's policy for five of the most popular fees without having to visit each carrier's site. Available on the flight results page, this easy-to-navigate chart outlines the fee policies for baggage, meals, transporting pets, unaccompanied minor service and seat assignments with added legroom for 25 of the most popular carriers searched on Kayak.com. The chart also includes links to the fee sections of the carrier's own website and urges users to confirm policies with the carrier.
Avoid Unsatisfactory Flights with Flight Quality Filters
If travelers are going to pay more for their flight, Kayak.com wants to make sure users get the most for their money. Hence, the site launched several "Flight Quality" features to expose factors that may make a flight undesirable. http://www.kayak.com/flights
New filters have been added that enable consumers to exclude red-eye or overnight trips and aircraft type (turbo props and/or regional jets). Users can also choose among a list of preferred layover airports and use a slider to filter for acceptable layover duration.
In addition to Flight Quality filters, Kayak.com flags certain flights within the results with a "Flight Quality Warning." Symbols represent several factors that may sway a flier's choice including a short connection time (under 45 minutes), long layover (over four hours), terrible on-time record (75% or less), departures and returns from different airports, red-eye flight, few seats remaining (only one or two seats left) and turbo prop plane. By hovering the mouse over the symbol, a text box appears explaining each warning.
Kayak.com, the largest Travel 2.0 site in the world, is a global Internet media company operating Kayak.com, SideStep.com, TravelPost.com and TravelSearch.com. Kayak.com and SideStep.com display results from more than 400 travel sites, providing prices and itineraries for hundreds of airlines, more than 100,000 hotels, all leading rental car companies and 18 cruise lines. Kayak.com has won more awards since launch than any other travel site including "100 Best Products of 2007" by PC World; "25 Sites We Can't Live Without" by TIME Magazine; "Best Search Engine" by the Associated Press; and "Best of the Web" by BusinessWeek, Forbes.com and US News & World Report. Launched in 2005 by co-founders of Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia, Kayak.com's investors include General Catalyst Partners, Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, Trident Capital, Oak Investment Partners, Lehman Brothers Venture Partners and America Online, Inc. Kayak.com has sites in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and India. For more information, visit http://www.kayak.com/.
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Web site: http://www.kayak.com/http://www.kayak.com/carshttp://www.kayak.com/flightshttp://www.kayak.com/airline-fees