The Technology Behind FlightHub’s Fare Marketplace

FlightHub is a Montreal-based online travel agency that offers low-cost flights.

While online travel agencies are not uncommon, FlightHub’s proprietary technology sets it apart from the pack.

We spoke with FlightHub’s CTO Eric Parent to find out what makes FlightHub unique tech-wise in comparison to its competition.

Q: How long have you been working for FlightHub? What role did you play in its launch and/or early development?

A: I have been there since day one. My role was really to analyze the technical challenges and find the solutions. But I was also in the trenches, working with a small team of developers learning the complexities of this industry while pushing code to production on a daily basis. It really was trial by fire in the beginning.

Q: Can I get a brief high level summary of how your pricing works?

A: Basically, we search from as many sources as we can and have them fight for the lowest price. For each search a user makes on our site, we launch multiple searches in the background to as many content providers as we can. Ultimately, the content providers fight to be the displayed price, encouraging them to lower their costs.

Q: Explain how variations in pricing occur? Is it an online stock market like environment where airlines and agents compete for pricing?

A: Precisely. We ultimately run a capitalistic flight search engine where the customer reaps the benefits of content providers haggling amongst themselves.

Q: Pricing is one thing, but how does your reservation system work?

A: That’s not an easy question to answer. The process is loaded with both machine and human labour. There are so many time-sensitive moving parts. For example, flight delays and cancellations create the need for multiple checks and balances to make sure a reservation goes smoothly. Reservation management really is the convergence of the tech side and the human side at FlightHub.

Q: What is the future of FlightHub? How can the service be improved on a technical level?

A: More automation and better tools for the customer. Automation will be necessary to streamline both pricing and reservation management going forward. Where as providing customers with better onsite tools will help them find the best prices and keep them as informed as possible while making their purchasing decisions.

You can read a FlightHub review of their top travel destinations for the holiday 2015 season and a breakdown of Canada’s top holiday destinations year to year.