Introducing the flight search geeks that make Skyscanner work
**1. What do you do at Skyscanner?**
I’m a ‘Database Developer’ for the company – helping organize all the information Skyscanner receives from the outside world: flight prices, airline route information, and more – and making it available to users quickly and reliably.
2. What kind of flight geek are you?
Definitely and shamelessly a technology geek. A few years ago, I ‘modified’ a game console of mine to stream films from my computer to the TV over a wireless network. I like pushing the capabilities of the devices I own.
3. What best generally describes your travel style?
I’ll fly anywhere if the price is right. A couple of years ago, a friend and I stumbled across a five-star hotel in Boston which was desperate to fill rooms. Neither of us had been to Boston before, but the flight + accommodation packages available were at such a huge discount, we grabbed the tickets within a few minutes of seeing them.
4. What’s your ideal holiday?
Somewhere warm, with plenty of things to see and bars/restaurants to check out. Having friends around also makes a big difference as it’s always good to pick up some genuine local tips and recommendations!
5. Who’s your ideal travel companion?
A friend, or friends plural if that’s an option! For long flights, someone to play chess with would be good too, although last time I flew transatlantic, there weren’t any travel chess boards on sale in any of the connecting airports…bizarre.
6. Do you fly with children?
I don’t have kids, so none of my own at least!
7. How do you decide where you want to go?
Spur-of-the-moment trips aside, I usually have a pretty good idea about where I’d like to go a few months in advance. Often it’s to visit friends somewhere, or for an event/concert/festival.
Add in a bit of local research – chatting to folks, reading a few websites – and I’ve got a trip.
8. How do you decide when you want to go?
It’s a bit of a mixed bag. If there’s a specific event to catch, then that can tie down the travel dates but generally I’ll have a bit of a hunt around and see if there are any off-season opportunities. It can make a huge difference to flight and hotel prices.
9. What annoys you most about planning holidays?
All the cross-referencing and double-checking that has to be done. I’m fussy about the details and like to make sure that trips are going to be comfortable, at sensible hours, and competitively priced.
Although I’m generally happy with the end results, it often means spending far too much time flicking between web pages, maps, and all kinds of other reference material.
10. What are you doing in your job at Skyscanner to help?
At the moment I’m working with some of our route management technology, to make sure that we can continually improve our flight coverage worldwide. The more ticket options we can show, the more likely people are to find the travel options to suit them, at the best price available.
Longer-term, I’m doing my best to ensure that we can collect and present as much flight and travel related information as possible. There’s a balance to find between displaying ‘too much’ information, and oversimplifying the information that’s out there.
11. What’s your favourite thing about the Skyscanner site?
An old favourite, and with good reason, it has to be our flexible search options. If I want to go to somewhere in the USA this summer, but I don’t care when or where – Skyscanner can show what’s available and for how much. It’s a fantastic way to get ideas for a trip.
12. What’s your dream feature?
Film festival integration – a way to view the films showing at film festivals across the world on a calendar, with travel prices to catch all the best features. For budget reasons I stick with the number 22 bus to local cinemas at the moment, but I can dream!
13. Favourite websites apart from Skyscanner (not necessarily travel) and why?
The Internet Movie Database is brilliant – although I wonder if it would benefit from a bit of a design overhaul. Impressively, you can still download the entire content of their ratings/films/credits database for free.
14. What’s the geekiest thing about you? Your secret geek shame?
When travelling to Spain to visit friends last year, I wrote a database query taking our calendars into account, to work out the best time to visit. That’s probably not even the geekiest thing I’ve done.
15. Worst travel experience?
Staying in a budget chain hotel in a fairly rough part of urban Los Angeles; no harm encountered, but not exactly the most relaxing atmosphere, and made Hollywood seem even more distant from reality. First time I’d come across bullet-proof glass at the counter in a fast food restaurant!
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