(Photo by Pixabay user Free-Photos, used under a CC0 license)
A newly launched website called Moonfish pledges to help travelers find deeply discounted airfare flying out of their preferred airports — starting with Philadelphia International Airport.
Using information from flight tracker site SkyScanner and other data sources, Moonfish’s platform searches for deals like a $70 ticket to Pensacola, Florida, direct flights to Paris for under $500, and quick trips to Las Vegas for $100. Click a destination and the site will pick the cheapest dates and departure times for you based.
Cofounder George Zeng, a former Philly resident and Wharton School alum who spent four years at Facebook, says the site can offer deeper discounts — up to 90%, he said — than what’s otherwise available by manually searching existing flight trackers.
“Most products answer these three questions: Give me an origin, destination and date; then tell me prices,” said Zeng, who left Facebook this year to cofound Moonfish alongside fellow ex-Facebooker Craig Campbell. “We’re building this product differently. We say: We have this flight data of every single flight around the world and we search that data from one origin airport, in this case PHL. We can then essentially sort them based on the biggest discounts.”
Answering the three classic questions like other sites do, Zeng said, detracts from offering consumers an “exploration-first experience” that focuses on the consumer’s own location. For now, the platform is only available for the Philly market, though eventually it plans to expand to other markets.
(While a student at Wharton, Zeng built and later sold a Dreamit-backed company called Aircare, a patient engagement platform.)
Moonfish must compete with multiple sources of cheap flights online, from the more established, trusted names like Expedia to popular discount sites like Scott’s Cheap Flights and SkyScanner itself. Zeng said Moonfish will look to compete by enhancing the customer experience, similarly to how Zillow or Trulia were boosters for online apartment hunting.
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