Hipmunk's Site Targets Travel "Agony"

A San Francisco startup believes it has come up with a way to make traveling–and using travel Web sites–a little less agonizing.

Hipmunk, which just raised $4.2 million from a roster of online travel veterans and venture capitalists, gives users access to the familiar airline fares they’re used to on other sites. But the company has a slick visual interface that arrays all of the travel options for a given trip on a grid that shows the hours of day along one axis. Each airfare is represented by a rectangle (color-coded for each airline), the length of which is determined by the duration of the trip, layovers included.

The layout makes it easier to see lots of airfare options at a glance. But another key feature of Hipmunk is its method of ranking the most attractive travel options according to an “agony score.”

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