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How to Build a Flight Search Engine in 2022

How to Build a Flight Search Engine in 2022

Discovery phaseTravel

The travel industry has experienced a profound digital transformation. With more than half of the air tickets booked online, there’s no wonder why investing in flight search engine development is a promising business opportunity.

Flight search engine: what is it?

Flight search engines are Internet services that search for information about ticket agencies and airlines. Flight booking services gather all kinds of combinations of tickets, flight connections and fares together, while conveniently providing information to the end-user. They simplify route planning and provide a flexible search on all the airlines in the world, and sometimes can offer related services for travelers: hotel reservations, car rentals, and more.

Advantages of flight search engines

  • If you search through ticket agencies and airlines, it will take a lot of time. A flight booking service will do everything for you in seconds.
  • The search engine collects information from many sources, so you won't get a good deal.

Stages of flight search engine development

Like any software, the development of a flight search engine consists of several key stages. Let's consider each of them in detail.

Idea, collection and analysis of requirements

One of the most important stages of flight booking service development, where the major decisions are made. At this stage, the customer together with business analysts try to figure out whom the software will be designed for, what it should do, what competitors it has on the market, and so on. Then it’s necessary to clearly state in a documented form the specific goals and result of the work.

Design and Engineering

When the clear requirements for the flight search engine are formed, we move on to the stage of its direct development. Based on the stated ideas and requirements, the technical architecture of the product and visual style are selected.

Implementation and programming

This is one of the easiest to describe, but sometimes one of the most difficult stages of implementation. It is at this point that programmers come in and write the code based on all of the documents, diagrams, and illustrations so that the finished software looks exactly as intended and does what it needs to do.

Testing and debugging

At this stage, specialists need to check if everything works as intended and if there are any defects, errors, or system faults. QA engineers make sure that all mechanics are implemented and all functions work correctly.

Deployment and Operation

When the software has been tested and is ready for use, it is released to the market. At this point, the end-user begins to interact with the software.

Maintenance and support

This is the longest phase of the software lifecycle. Here, developers make sure that the software works properly on the fly. Updates often include new functions and features and improve the usability of the product, its performance, and so on.

5 Best Practices For Building A Flight Search Engine

People expect to buy air tickets from the comfort of their home, and they want the booking process to be quick and hassle-free. In this article, you’ll learn the best practices to build a airfare search engine that is agile and intuitive to use, guaranteeing a seamless booking journey:

Establish a logical order of parameters

A pleasant user interface (UI) and an intuitive user experience (UX) can go a long way, improving your sales conversion rate.

Did you know that most users leave a website in 10 to 20 seconds often due to poor design? If you want to retain your users’ attention (and keep them returning), create a booking system that is simple and useful at the same time: the search journey has to be seamless. How? For starters, establish a logical order of parameters:

  • Route
  • Dates
  • Passenger selection
  • Extra information
  • Search

When the user journey is logical, people are more likely to complete a purchase.

Include auto-suggesting

You might have experienced this when booking a flight. Sometimes, you’re unsure how the airport name is spelled (how do you even spell Bydgoszcz on the first try?). Or perhaps you misspelled a word in the search box, and the system found nothing. And don’t even get us started on long airport names like Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Palace Complex. That’s in Dubai.

Auto-suggesting (also known as auto-complete) would help in all these cases. It saves time, enrichens the user experience, and boosts sales by 24%.

Create a user-friendly calendar

In the date parameter, the calendar should be intuitive and minimalistic. The system must identify what origin/destination is related to quickly and if it’s a single or a round-way trip.

You might want to include in your airfare search engine a flex-search option: a feature that allows moving your dates around to find the best prices available. In that case, use a calendar that offers a month-long price perspective for both outbound and return flights.

Make passenger selection simple

After choosing the route and the travel dates, the user has to select the number and type of passengers. But depending on the age group of each of them, you’ll need to provide additional information. So, our advice is to create a separate dialog box to make selecting adult/children/baby travelers and filling in details about each of them more comfortable.

Use two visual levels

The information you’ve collected until now is crucial for processing the flight search: route, dates, and passengers’ selection. So, the search boxes related to them have to be visually dominating the screen.

The rest of the information (baggage selection, cabin class, etc.) should fade off to the second level. This simple trick will save users from filling in the information that doesn’t influence the search.

Flight search engine example

And now let us give you an example of a quality flight search engine, developed by Perfsol from the ground up. We had to develop a handy flight search engine for the Australian market. Leveraging our experience in global distribution system (GDS) integration, PerfSol designed and developed JetSeeker.

For a traveler, the system allows searching by airports and cities, looking for round trip flights. For a business, the system is equipped with a smart price engine to configure commissions, discounts, and sales programs.

During the development, we used the following technologies:

  • Symfony,
  • Am,
  • WSDL,
  • SOAP,
  • JSON-API,
  • PostgreSQL,
  • Redis,
  • rabbitMQ,
  • Memcached,
  • Amadeus GDS,
  • React.js,
  • Git.

The bottom line

Building an agile, responsive, and user-friendly flight search engine isn’t easy. It requires industry knowledge and impressive engineering skills. We know this because we’ve successfully developed an air ticket search engine with a clean design and intuitive user interface.

Our experience with Global Distribution Systems (GDS) helped us develop an airfare search engine that allows searching destinations by city or airport while providing a smart price engine to configure commissions, discounts, and sales programs for businesses. If you’re curious about the details, click here.

Building a system like this requires a lot of time and effort, so if you have a trusted in-house team that can cover it — great. But if you’d like to extend your team or outsource air ticket software development to professionals, contact Perfsol. We’ll be more than happy to discuss your project.