First there was Southwest’s Ding!, then there was Ryanair’s Bing!, now there’s . . . American’s Dang!? Enough with the ridiculous punctuation, please!*!@#)&*%)!!!
Ok, so it’s not actually called Dang!, but according to Sky Talk, some people internally referred to it as just that. It’s actually called DealFinder. So guess what it does? Um, finds deals? Right!
But it’s not really much like Ding! at all. There’s actually more to it than that, and despite it’s slowness on my machine, I still like what they’re doing. Like Ding!, DealFinder sits in your system tray, usually at the bottom right hand corner of your Windows-based computer. You’ll see a little AA logo there. When you click it, you’ll see the application come up on your screen. It looks like this:
The main part of the application is the “saved searches,” which are nothing like Ding! and more like the Orbitz DealDetector. You pick routes that you want to fly and set a maximum price. It will alert you when you get below that level. As you can see, my quick trip to Hawai’i for under $500 isn’t looking likely, but the sub-$500 Christmas run to Indianapolis is available now.
The other, potentially more interesting piece of this application is the RSS reader they’ve built in. If you aren’t sure what RSS is, this quick summary from Wikipedia will help. I know RSS readers are gaining in popularity, but I’d guess that many people who book travel at aa.com don’t use them yet. That’s why this is a good idea.
First, they have feeds from American that offer deals and news from the airline. That can be helpful, of course. But you can also subscribe to your own RSS feeds in here. As you can see, I subscribed to the Cranky Flier (great blog, I hear) and it loaded my most recent posts on the left. Just below the saved searches, you can see a small window that has the text of that post for you to read.
Now, this isn’t a full-featured RSS reader. You can’t see pictures and it truncates long posts, so if you use Google, My Yahoo, or anyone else, this won’t replace it well. But if you don’t have a reader, this could be a good way to get quick news updates, sports scores, anything else you might want to catch at a glance.
This may have nothing to do with American Airlines, but that’s why it’s a good idea. If American can get you checking the application for your news and sports throughout the day, that’s more opportunity for them to get your attention and potentially get you thinking about taking a trip. That’s why I like it, because there are plenty of people who don’t have an RSS reader and might find this to be an interesting way to get started with one.
So the RSS reader is nifty, but what is going to draw people in? Low fares, of course. If my Hawaiian trip still shows the same fares I can find anywhere else, I’m more likely to use Orbitz DealDetector, because at least then I can check other airlines as well. But, if American starts telling you that they’ve found a low fare that you can only get through DealFinder, then it’s going to do very well.
Can the airline do that? I’d think that the GDS contracts might prevent them from posting fares there that they don’t post with the reservations systems, but there could be a loophole. If anyone knows more, please write a comment below.