Services like Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, and others may have established themselves as the go-to platforms for booking flights, the success of Skypicker, a startup based out of the Czech Republic, indicates that there are many people out there who are unsatisfied with deals out there and are searching for a better value, even if it means an extra leg or two along their journey.
In playing around with the search tool, I found that savings vary, typically depending on whether or not it is a major hub. For instance, I did a search for Chicago and found that I could fly to Denver on July 8 and return on July 14 for $299 through Skypicker. Through Expedia, the same trip goes for $359. But, when searching for a flight from Chicago to Rapid City that leaves on July 8 and returns on July 14, it was $1,326 on Skypicker and $741 on Expedia. One of the aspects of Skypicker that I like is that they have multiple search options. That is, having picked a starting destination, the platform allows you to pick a destination by country, by radius (providing prices for every city within an expandable range), or by simply clicking “everywhere” and receiving a list of the cheapest places visit for a particular time period. They also offer price graphs, taking historical data to let users know about the optimal dates for your desired trip.
It seems that there are great deals to be found on Skypicker, but it depends on where you are headed and when. The startup says that they are continuing to refine the platform by expanding the database to discover all connections between points A and B and finding the ones best suited to the needs of their customers.
As with a lot of startups, the idea for Skypicker was born from experience, as founder and CEO Oliver Dlouhy encountered difficulties in 2011 when he and his girlfriend were searching for low-cost flights to Portugal. Unable to find direct flights within their price range, they searched around and came across a couple of solid options that would take them well out of the way, but would deliver significant savings. Finding these lower-cost options took more than a day of work, so Dlouhy concluded that others may be encountering similar frustrations and set out to develop an algorithm that would automate the process. He has been proven correct, as Skypicker now reports selling about 100K tickets per month, generating revenue by adding a markup on top of each one.
The team behind Skypicker began working on the project in 2011, unveiling their public beta in May 2012. They have obtained external investment on 3 occasions, taking in 20K Euro in 2012 from noted Czech investor Jiri Hlavenka and then following it up with 500K Euro in December 2013 from Touzimsky Kapital Group (as well as acquiring flight-search site WhichAirline.com at that time). Most recently, the startup obtained 1 million Euro from Czech investor Ondrej Tomek earlier this year.