iFare Finder

iFare Finder is on sale for $1.99 until the next update… regular price is $2.99

Every once in a while I feel the need to get my ass off the couch and go somewhere far, far away, and when these feelings start to stir the first thing I want to know is how much it’s gonna run me. I don’t need an exact price down to the penny, I just need a reasonably accurate ballpark figure and, for me, this is where iFare Finder comes in handy. In theory you’re supposed to be able to actually book flights by tapping links in this app (which launch the Safari browser), but it doesn’t always work out that way.

If you’ve ever been to an airline website or one of the big travel websites, this app’s interface will look very familiar. Select your airports, your dates, how many passengers, and you can also look for non-stop flights only. The one major component that’s missing is the ability to choose specific time windows, such as a morning or afternoon departure, but all of the other basics are there.

I searched for a flight to New York that I’m going to be taking in the very near future plus a few imaginary ones, and the results were pretty good! The prices that iFare Finder gave me for my New York trip were all within few bucks of the prices I got from websites like Expedia and Travelocity. For my imaginary flights to places like London, Seoul, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, the prices were usually off by $10 or so which could be attributed to website booking fees or taxes or something. Once in a while, typically on more expensive international flights, there would be bigger discrepancies up to the $50-$60 range… but again, when the airfare is $1000, this could be blamed on taxes and/or fees.

When RIV Creations built iFare Finder they probably envisioned it as a complete solution where you could find a flight and book it right there on your iPhone, but unfortunately that’s not always possible with this app because it apparently gets its info from a fare-aggregator site called Tapping the “Book Flight online” button on any flight listing will send you through Kayak and, if you’re lucky, you’ll be sent to the website that the fare came from to buy your plane ticket. If you suck, you’ll get a Kayak page that basically says (cue music!) waaa-waaaaa.

For some, this inconsistency in booking ability would be a deal breaker, but I couldn’t care less! As I said before, I just want to get an idea of what a flight will cost me and iFare Finder totally delivers in that respect. Even if booking a flight on my iPhone were 100% seamless, 100% of the time, I’d probably still prefer to do it on an actual computer anyway. Some processes are just too much of a pain in the ass to go through on a small screen.

Although the “book flight” button isn’t very reliable, the app does provide a button to call the airline which is awesome, and it also provides flight numbers, flight duration, and everything else you need to start making travel plans. One thing I wish this app would do is show the flight numbers in the top-level search results… right now you have to tap the result to see the flight number… but other than that this is a pretty solid app.

iFare Finder isn’t perfect, nor is it pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but when you’re at the airport and your flight’s been canceled and you’re desperate to get on a plane, $2-$3 for this app will seem like small potatoes. Plus it’s just fun to be able to price out vacations you’ll probably never go on.

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