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Flight Geek of the Week – Bjørn Stevenson

Flight Geek of the Week - Bjørn Stevenson

Introducing the flight search geeks that make Skyscanner work

**1. What do you do at Skyscanner?**
I’m a database developer. I design and develop strategies and code to interpret airline time tables, to optimize caching of prices, to calculate route popularities, and whatever else is required to feed the site with data.

2. What kind of flight geek are you?
A technical geek. I’m always looking for better ways to manipulate data efficiently in order to maximize performance when delivering results.

3. What best generally describes your travel style?
I usually know which country I want to go to, but am flexible about exactly when and where. I prefer to fly and then hire a car to get about – though this depends where I’m going and what I plan to do. I once drove all the way from Edinburgh to Villeneuve-sur-Lot (near Toulouse, France) and have flown as far as Melbourne, Australia.

4. What’s your ideal holiday?
Going somewhere quiet and relaxing, with spectacular scenery to investigate and warm sunny weather (though not too hot). I like to read so a collection of great books is also a must.

5. Who’s your ideal travel companion?
My wife and children.

6. Do you fly with children?
Two – one is ten and the other nearly eight.

7. How do you decide where you want to go?
Sometimes we want to visit relatives in Denmark or Australia; sometimes we want to go somewhere new, sometimes we want to return somewhere we really liked.

8. How do you decide when you want to go?
That depends mainly on school holidays, but also on events – for example someone’s birthday or wedding – and also on flight prices around the time we want to go.

9. What annoys you most about planning holidays?
Things like prices going up during school holidays, and arbitrary visa requirements that vary according to your nationality. On a trip to Turkey we needed a ‘paid for’ visa for one of us but not the other (my wife’s Danish).

10. What are you doing in your job at Skyscanner to sort that?
Looking for ways to make it easier and quicker to find the best prices for a trip.

11. What’s your favourite thing about the Skyscanner site?
The ability to drill down from a general search such as flights from country to country, to a more specific one, in order to find the most suitable flight for a given trip.

12. What’s your dream feature?
Voice recognition that actually works.

13. Favourite websites apart from Skyscanner and why?
Google – you can find just about any information you could reasonably need – though finding the right search term can be a pain.

14. What’s the geekiest thing about you? Your secret geek shame?
I occasionally still play Meteors on an ancient BBC B, which has outlasted many PCs.

15. Worst travel experience?
Arriving at Paris Charles de Gaul airport to find that the booked hire car was not available as the hire firm were "waiting for customers to return cars".

Waiting in a queue of infuriated fellow travellers for nearly 4 hours with two kids to keep entertained was not fun – not to mention wasting most of the day, and ending up with a substitute car that was so awful it was comical.

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