Farelogix plans to launch a website designed to calculate what a traveler will pay for checking bags and other items, such as sports equipment, on various airlines.
The company, best known for developing direct-connect technology for airlines, said the site – iflybags.com – will make its debut around Oct. 1.
Farelogix chief executive Jim Davidson is hoping the site will dispel the notion that airlines’ fees for ancillary products and services are “hidden” from consumers.
He said the site not only will allow the user to compare bag fees on various airlines, it will help users “optimize” the way they pack and check their bags to ensure they don’t overpay.
For example, a family of four taking a vacation might be carrying and/or checking a variety of items: golf clubs, a diaper bag, a surfboard and one or two bags that might exceed the airline’s weight limit.
Iflybags.com will calculate how to “even out” the items among the family members, shifting some weight from one bag to another that is less stuffed or distributing items so that that no one person exceeds any limits unnecessarily.
Farelogix has applied for a patent for the optimization tool, Davidson said.
Iflybags.com also will allow users to enter their frequent flyer numbers so that their status can be taken into account. Most frequent flyer programs allow passengers to check in one, two or more bags for free depending on their elite level.
The fee information on the site comes from ATPCo, the distributor of fare information to GDS companies and large online travel agencies, and directly from some airlines.
ATPCo has developed a comprehensive list of “optional services” — more commonly known as ancillary services — and their fees, covering everything from musical instruments to antlers, and some airlines have begun filing their fee information in that manner.
“We get multiple feeds, three or four a day, so the information is as in sync as it can ever be,” Davidson said.
In all, Farelogix has checked-bag fee data for 309 airlines.
Davidson said the site, which is Farelogix’ first foray into a consumer-facing product, also can be used by travel agencies, which can link to the site “as is.”
Farelogix also will be offering a web services interface to the application so anyone — a travel agency, corporate booking tool or even a GDS — can integrate the application. Farelogix will charge a nominal fee for hosting and support.
It also will offer a “white-label” option, again for a nominal support fee.
That may resolve a thorny issue raised by the Transportation Department’s new rules that require agencies with websites to disclose all airline bag fees, even if they must provide a link to an airline’s website.