A new FareCompare iPhone app, When-to-Fly Airfare Alerts, treats user-requested price drops like breaking news.
This is FareCompare's first mobile app and co-founder and CEO Rick Seaney says the metasearch firm decided to enter the mobile space once Apple had enabled push-notifications for the iPhone.
The app became available in iTunes this morning.
With push-notifications, users who have used the app to sign up to track price-drops on their favorite flight routes, will get notifications on their iPhones in real-time -- regardless of whether or not they have the app open and running.
Mobile phones are real-time devices, Seaney says.
"You can't carry your desktop in your pocket," he adds.
Seaney says Apple closely controls how companies use push-notifications on the iPhone to ensure they don't get "spammy," adding that he's unaware of any other travel app that currently uses push notifications.
Users of the FareCompare app can monitor an unlimited number of trips by travel dates, a specific month or they can watch for push-notifications on any price drop for the particular destination, FareCompare says.
Seaney says FareCompare has first-mover advantage with the push-notifications in mobile travel apps as well as with the raw data feeds on fares that it gets from the Airline Tariff Publishing Company.
In fact, Seaney says, FareCompare sometimes has to slow down its price drop notifications to ensure that booking systems have the data, as well.
Fares found in the new FareCompare app can be booked through the app on Orbitz, FareCompare's main booking partner, but Seaney acknowledges that booking capabilities on mobile apps have a long way to go.
With the new iPhone app, FareCompare now delivers price-drop notifications on the iPhone, email, Twitter and Facebook.
The app also features FareCompare's When-to-Go Getaway Map, which uses location-based technology to highlight global fares from users' nearest airports.
FareCompare developed the app, which is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, in conjuction with Mobiata, which has developed its own mobile apps and solutions for many third parties, including HomeAway and now FareCompare, for example.
Here's a video about the app.