TripAdvisor is now allowing passengers to post reviews of airlines, a move it claims will “demystify” what is becoming an increasingly confusing market place for travellers.
The new function is part of an overhaul of the review website’s flight service, which, for seven years, has only been able to offer passengers the ability to compare flight prices, pitching it against the likes of Skyscanner, Expedia and Google.
TripAdvisor now hopes to steal a march on its rivals by providing travellers with both reviews and prices.
“What we launched yesterday is a better way to shop,” said Bryan Saltzburg, senior vice president of TripAdvisor’s global flights business. “It’s giving travellers the ability to make informed air decisions – not just on price but the total experience.”
Saltzburg told Telegraph Travel that he believes the market place has become more confusing for passengers in recent years, as airlines look to unbundle services that have traditionally come with the price of a seat, such as checked baggage and seat reservations.
“With all the changes that have happened we’re really hoping to demystify the flight shopping experience and help customers manage what’s become a very complex and differentiated segment within the travel space,” he said.
As well as enabling passengers to post reviews, TripAdvisor has launched a “flyscore” feature, which asks them to rate airlines out of ten for customer service, cleanliness, seat comfort, leg room, ease of check-in, value for money, in-flight entertainment and in-flight cuisine.
“Customers in 48 countries in 29 languages have been actively writing reviews since earlier this year with our beta launch,” said Saltzburg. “We’re already getting full airline reviews based on customers, they tell us where they went to and from, they review their experience from top to bottom.”
TripAdvisor will curate and filter the reviews to give travellers a specific score for itineraries they may be considering.
“We also include an actual itinerary score, which is specific to the actual itinerary you are looking to fly,” said Saltzburg. “We take into consideration what aircraft type is flying and on what carrier.”
The site claims the developments will give travellers more confidence booking with airlines they haven’t heard of.
Telegraph Travel’s consumer expert, Nick Trend, says it’s about time passengers had a better way to express their frustrations with air travel.
“TripAdvisor reviews will certainly help highlight issues such as poor food, bad customer service, and cramped legroom – especially on longer flights,” he said. “Hopefully it will now be easier to make comparisons between airlines on the areas which really matter to individual passengers.”