As I sat in the back row on a cross-country US Airways flight a few nights ago, with the engine roaring outside the window, the bathroom directly behind me stinking, and unable recline my seat at all, I wondered how I could have avoided the unfortunate situation I was in.
Help is on the way in the form of InsideTrip.com, which launches in beta on Tuesday. The site not only includes JetBlue and Virgin America in its flight results, but it offers an interesting way to help you figure out the best flight taking into consideration things other than price.
For instance, it factors in number of stops, duration, and on-time statistics about the flights, as well as what the security wait time may be, how much legroom you would have, and what percentage of seats are filled. It also looks at how the flights rank for lost bags, where the gate location is, and how long you have to connect to the next flight. That would have been handy for me to know as I had to run to catch my connecting flight to San Francisco across what seemed like the entire Phoenix airport.
The site offers up a Trip Quality Rating and assigns a rating, on a 100-point scale, based on how many of the criteria are met. You can customize the criteria if you don't care about certain things, like aircraft type or aircraft age, and those factors won't be weighed in the results.
There's a fun little visual itinerary bar for the flights too, that allows you to get more details on a flight, say arrival time, by hovering the mouse over it.
There is another site called SeatGuru.com which lets you view the seating on specific airplanes so you can avoid being in the exit aisle or last row, but it doesn't offer all the other features InsideTrip.com does.
I'll definitely give InsiderTrip.com a try before I fly again. But price will still be the biggest factor, unless of course, it's a work trip.