Searching for plane tickets when people matter more than the destination

  • Vasily and I won Best Travel Hack Award at MHacks 6 (University of Michigan) for developing a web application that automatically calculates the cheapest possible flight destination for large groups of people willing to meet up in one location

The problem

Can people meet their loved ones for less money and airlines fill up their underutilized routes? In our fast and increasingly globalized age, family members, colleagues and friends are spread all around the country and the world. Rendezvous with friends or business partners who live far away is a complex logistical problem and a financial burden. Due to market forces in airline industry, a flight to one of the person’s city of origin often isn’t the most affordable way for two people to meet. This effect reverberates when three, four or hundred people are involved.

Screen shot of the app
Screen shot of the app

Our solution

Halfway gives travelers the opportunity to think about their plans together and save money by finding more affordable fares for them as a group. You can call it Going Dutch or an interesting optimization problem – Halfway helps travelers make more informed decisions. The travelers input their airports of origin and the travel dates and Halfway suggests the best place for a meeting.

Technical implementation

Halfway front-end was hosted on our NameCheap server and the back-end lived on our Linode, using data from Sabre API. The server was written in Node.js with Firebase where database was needed. We did a lot of JavaScript magic to implement Google’s Material Design guidelines. NameCheap generously provided a free domain.