FairFly is a business-to-business startup that aims to give companies more transparency into airfare changes after tickets have been booked, with the potential to rebook if fares become cheaper after the cancelation fee is deducted or a certain threshold picked by a travel management company (TMC) -- say, 5% -- is reached.
Once potential savings are found, the TMC or corporate travel manager handles the rebooking automatically via FairFly's software or manually.
In late 2014, FairFly was co-founded and backed by Uri Levine, the co-founder of crowd-sourced mapping platform Waze, bought by Google.
The startup launched its tool in 2015. It was selected to participate in the Plug & Play International Accelerator in Silicon Valley, shortly after winning first place at the TLV Start-Up Challenge in 2015.
Here is a one-minute pitch video that is narrated by Gili Lichtman, co-founder and vp sales & marketing.
FairFly says it "connects to the global distribution system (GDS) via the client credentials, and passenger name records are automatically extracted from the designated GDS queue and entered into its proprietary price tracking system." It is integrated with Sabre, and says it is set to integrate to both Amadeus and Travelport soon.
FairFly charges a tiered, minimal service fee, based on monthly booking volume. The main component of pricing is a success fee (the customer only pays when they save).
Here's a brief Q&A with Lichtman:
What problem does your business solve?
Airfare is extremely volatile, the price for a single flight changes 90 times on average, fluctuating even up until the moment of departure.
In the US alone, enterprises and TMCs collectively leave up to $19B on the table by forgoing savings opportunities after ticketing.
Though corporate travel and entertainment represents the second largest controllable expense in a typical company, few have the time or capability to cope with this extreme volatility to maximize savings, after ticketing.
FairFly was designed to solve this problem, by leveraging airfare volatility to capture savings that are normally missed.
We look for savings on identical and similar flight options, and identify potential savings, averaging $254 per ticket, on 26% of tickets processed.
Better yet, these savings already factor in the applicable airline cancellation fees, private fares, and corporate travel policies.
Names of founders, their management roles, and number of full-time paid staff?
FairFly was founded and backed by $1B Waze co-founder Uri Levine (Chairman), together with Ami Goldenberg (CTO), Aviel Siman-Tov (CEO), and Gili Lichtman.
To date, FairFly has raised over $2 million from Blumberg Capital and Emery Capital, and is backed by Uri Levine (Waze co-founder).
FairFly charges a tiered minimal monthly service fee, and a success fee, meaning the customer will pay only when savings are realized.
This ensures that FairFly’s service pays for itself-- and then some-- through savings generated and time saved.
Why do you think the pain point you’re solving is painful enough that customers are willing to pay for your solution?
It’s no secret that enterprises and TMCs are trying to reduce business travel costs, constantly looking for ways to save, and in some cases resorting to costly and extreme measures to do so.
Without a proper solution, enterprises are forgoing up to $19 billion dollars in potential savings per year, in the US alone.
The only way to ensure maximum savings is to track price changes before and after ticketing, and to rebook when savings are available. FairFly offers a comprehensive solution that even pays for itself, in a one-time easy setup that integrates with any travel booking ecosystem, seamlessly.
FairFly is the only solution in the market that also tracks similar flights for savings, delivering full transparency to customers and ensuring that no savings opportunity is missed.
FairFly’s ability to search for similar flights, with small changes in departure time, airline, cabin class, and duration of flight, maximizes the potential for savings opportunities.
The technology that supports this type of search is the first of its kind and saves endless amounts of time (and money) which would have been spent trying to do it all manually.
By automating the extensive manual work involved in searching for savings opportunities on identical and similar flight options, factoring in applicable fees as well as travel policies and preferences, and completing the rebooking process, FairFly ensures positive ROI- in both money and time saved.
The airline ticket will be canceled only after the cheaper ticket is purchased, except for a case in which the ticket has been purchased from a travel agency. The money paid for the original ticket will be refunded to the user's account within a few weeks, according to the policy of the entity from which it was purchased.
The notices sent to users are not based solely on the price; we take into account a better deal overall, including shorter flight duration, more convenient takeoff and landing times, an airline of the same quality, and a more appealingly located airport.
In 2016, FairFly placed 4th on the Disrupt 100 list of worldwide businesses with the most potential to “influence, change, or create new global markets.”
FairFly's offering seems to overlap with the FareIQ product of, Yapta, a startup that has a couple of patents and does not just airfare price tracking, but also hotel room rebooking via its RoomIQ product.
Yapta has received investment from Amadeus and Concur, two travel technology giants, and it was first to market with price assurance software that it says dynamically reads the fare rules and restrictions on each airline ticket upon import.
Yapta has 1,000 enterprise clients, which gives it a strong competitive position, particularly in North America. It also has distribution agreements with 13 of the top 20 TMCs, including 4 of the top 5 -- again suggesting market competition for new entrants trying to compete with it.
When asked about Yapta, FairFly said its product stands on its own and has unique technology.
FairFly also tells us that customers don't risk losing their seat by using its service to rebook. It says the search settings are customizable, and preferences can be set for each TMC branch, individual company, specific department and/or flyer.
It says FairFly "uses best practices to search for flights with similar departure times (+/- two hours), airlines (same alliance), layovers (same amount or less) and more." It says it is able to compare negotiated rates with public fares.
FairFly told us that it "supports all routes, fare classes, booking origins, and currencies, globally."
It says that, in addition to tracking for identical itineraries at a lower price, its proprietary algorithms simultaneously search for similar and better flight options according to the company travel policy and preferences (e.g. a flight that departs half-an-hour earlier or a flight with a shorter duration).
The company also says it offers an automated rebooking solution which can be configured to support specific cases as defined by the customer, leaving the fulfillment in the TMC's hands, but without the lengthy manual process.
The competition in this space will be interesting to watch.