Unfare: The story so far

applescriptIt was back in August ’15 when I got curious about the movement of airfares in India. I knew the price fluctuates for any given flight before the day of departure but I wanted to find a pattern around it. But to start my research, I needed the price data. So I wrote a simple Applescript that would search the flights in a browser, copy the relevant search results and then parse it into a comma separated text file. Pretty crude, but hey, it worked! But the big downside to this method was that it required me to wake up every morning, open up my laptop and run the script manually. The screen would flash for 30min to get 30day fares for 6 routes.

I started looking for patterns. At first, I thought maybe the flight price fluctuation was limited to a few airlines. But the data suggested otherwise. There were price drops and increases across every airline. So it had to be more complicated than that. Then I thought the price patterns were just historical. Well, that wasn’t the case either. I then started studying the airline pricing models. Though it was complicated, it did help a great deal. Based on the hundreds of hours of research, I started creating a pricing model that could predict close to the actual price movements of the flights. And the best part of it was that it was created with machine learning algorithm. So once it goes wrong, it will learn from that mistake and re-model for the next prediction. And that’s how unfare was born. In the coming days I will post about how it’s actually done.

The idea of airfare prediction is not unique or innovative. Almost everyone wants to know the future price movements. Be it stock market price, commodities price, airfares. The only difficulty is to build a reliable model. Even in the airfare prediction market, there are several players but but none of them actually cater to the Indian domestic market. And given the price sensitivity of the customers in India, I thought it would be a great idea to put together an app for it.

So ladies & gentlemen, presenting, the airfare prediction app in India, unfare.

Let’s unfare it!