Whether you're a novice traveler or a frequent flyer, the Hipmunk travel search app should be a breeze to handle. Simply type in your destination and departure cities and select your travel dates. Then select Coach, Business, or First class, and enter the number travelers. And that's it. The process is very similar to that of most travel apps and Web sites, plus it comes with some quick auto-complete suggestions, a super-smooth date selector, and uniquely visual interface.
After you fill in all the fields, Hipmunk goes off and searches through its database to bring up tons of travel options. In fact, it even includes Amtrak options in its search results, which we haven't seen before in a travel app.
One thing Hipmunk is known for is its unique search results page, which consists of a large, visual graph, displaying time along the X axis and price along the Y axis. Flights are color-coded for different airlines and clearly marked when layovers are involved. Also, Wi-Fi-equipped flights are denoted by an icon, which is nice. While it may sound like a lot to take in, the way Hipmunk lays everything out makes it incredibly easy to quickly compare flights according to several factors--often a difficult task with other travel apps and Web sites. Also, it lets you rearrange search results by Price, Departure, Arrival, or interestingly, Agony. Sorting by Agony is a super useful feature that takes into account travel time, price, and stopovers to recommend the least agonizing itineraries. For us, it worked beautifully, and we agreed with most of its recommendations.
Once you choose your flight, Hipmunk provides you with a link to book either through the airline's site or through a third-party broker's site like Orbitz, depending on where it found the deal. Alternatively, Hipmunk can give you a convenient reference code so you can pull up your search and complete your booking later on your desktop.
In all our tests, Hipmunk was blazing fast and offered some pretty comprehensive results. Plus, its sort by Agony feature was spot-on just about every time. The only thing we think the Hipmunk app could use is a slightly more nimble search interface. For instance, it would be nice to be able to quickly pivot our search between different nearby airports and travel days without having to start our search over again. Other than that, we love Hipmunk and its uniquely visual and intuitive interface.