Flightfox, a California-based startup, allows travelers to use the site’s crowd of “experts” — many of whom are ordinary people with a love of fare-hunting — to find the most affordable price for trips that are more complex than a typical flight search engine can handle. The traveler pays Flightfox to set up a competition, and the person who finds the lowest fare receives a modest finder’s fee equal to 75 percent of the amount paid. The amount of money won depends on the complexity of the trip; currently most competitions offer fees between $34 and $59.
What’s the Big Idea?
The site helps fill a gap left by traditional Web sites like Travelocity and Expedia, which are often unable to handle specific requests, such as traveling with a pet or a surfboard. Flightfox co-founder Todd Sullivan says it’s not “economically feasible to build an algorithm that covers every aspect of travel.” Human searchers also appreciate the challenge and the ability to earn money for their peculiar skill-set. One, Monique Krestyn, says, “In three months, I’ve made $4,000 and that’s just utilizing my downtime when home and family aren’t demanding me.”