LockTrip.com has grown by an entire marketplace today, with the Flights section coming online in full force. You can now book flights among more than 1,000 Airlines and pay with Credit Card or Crypto.
Since we took down the alpha version of the flights marketplace in late 2019, we have worked on greatly improving the user experience, search speed and stability.
At the same time we have introduced new features and perks, of which some will be presented below.
New Filtering Options
Today’s deployment comes with the following filtering options:
The “Journey Time” filter and “Airlines” check-boxes were frequently requested features by our users, which we have listened to. All filters operate instantly and apply automatically without the need to initiate a new search.
Presenting Relevant Information
One of the key pillars of this deployment was to ensure that all relevant information can be obtained from a single info box.
Search Result Card
The reworked interface shows departure and return flights in merged cards, which makes it easy to consume the information. New, high quality logos for airlines also make it more intuitive to get the big picture at a single glimpse while scrolling down the list.
To obtain more detailed info about a specific route, it is enough to click on “View More”, which will smoothly open up an overview for each destination on the route.
Expanded Search Result Card
Another useful feature is the listing of your most recent searches. Sometimes during planning, you may end up having two or more options you are considering. Being able to quickly jump between these makes it a much simpler process.
Recent Searches Feature
Sometimes things can change during the booking process. We have built an advanced error handling system, which salvages the user session in case a problem occurs with the ticket at the last moment.
Previously when our provider returned an error, this disrupted the user experience. Now the system records each step and makes all efforts to roll back to the previous step.
If the selected ticket is no longer available at the payment window, we will provide a user friendly message and prompt the user to go back to the search results to choose another flight. In addition, availability is re-checked at every step to minimize the risk of such a scenario.
The Flights marketplace is a huge milestone for us regarding complexity, size and challenges we had to overcome. Let’s start with size.
Today’s deployment consists of more than 20,000 lines of code and stretches over 400 files for the Flights marketplace alone. By comparison: regular deployments usually consists of a few hundred — to a few thousand lines.
In addition to this, there were several factors, which made the development very complex and kept our team busy. We will explore three of them below.
Challenge #1 — Limited Availability
One of the big challenges with flights was that the availability of tickets is very limited in number. This means that when someone enters a session for a ticket (in which case it is reserved for 30 minutes), other users may not be able to book this ticket until the session expires.
As a result, we had to design various mechanisms to adapt to this environment.
Challenge #2 — Dynamic Pricing
Contrary to the hotel industry where prices are mostly static, the flight tickets industry is a highly fluid vertical. Tickets operate under the model of dynamic pricing, which leads to price changes on a minute basis.
“Working with dynamically changing prices posed new challenges to our team, in its quest to provide the most up to date and competitive prices to our customers.”
— Asya, Product Engineer at LockTrip
Since we can not show users constantly jumping rates, we need to assume a price at the moment of search, which may or may not come close to the final price at the time of booking. The difference between quoted and final price is a risk we take on with each booking.
Our system needs to manage this risk appropriately while still offering our users the lowest possible prices.
Challenge #3 — Data Packages
When sourcing availability data from providers, we receive it in packages. Over time (several seconds) the list of available flights grows longer, depending on how many airlines and aggregators returned results.
The full set of search results may be available to us after an indefinite period of time, to which the circumstances are beyond our control. For this reason we needed to develop a mechanism that could handle the inconsistency in a user-friendly way and expand the results as they come in.
These are just some of the many hurdles we had to overcome for this deployment. We hope that you will like the new marketplace and are looking forward to the next deployments!
Choose among 1,000+ Airlines