Hacker Fares: Can They Save You a Lot on Flying?

It seems like travel aggregator Kayak is taking a few branding cues from the rise of internet activism for their new marketing angle, but whether the strategy will translate to sales for the company or savings for travelers is yet to be determined.

In a blog post, Kayak announced its new “Hacker Fares” program, with a bit of an irreverent tone and an insinuation that Kayak employees have some specialized knowledge. The post begins:

We all know flight prices can be tricky. Really tricky (and fickle as well). So we found a way to hack into the mainframes of airlines to get the best rates. OK, well… that’s not true. The airlines don’t use mainframes anymore. No, seriously, we absolutely do not hack (that was just a few of us and before they worked at KAYAK).

It continues:

…Let’s say you’re looking for a weekend roundtrip flight from New York to San Francisco, and the best price is WHOA $600 for economy. That’s a sh*#t-ton for most people. You may not be able to afford that for a little jaunt to the Golden State. I mean SF is great, but six hundred bucks for a 3-day trip? No thanks. I can stare at a picture of Alcatraz, spray salt water in my face, pour white wine into a large pretentious glass and voila!

The post goes on to explain the way Hacker Fares™ (they trademarked it) work, and it seems that it’s essentially matching up trips to and from a destination on separate airlines. (Call me dopey, but I thought that aggregators did this already, since my last flight was Delta going out and AA coming in.) Kayak admits that the service doesn’t require any specific “hacks” to work, just that the process may not be straightforward and could require much legwork on the part of consumers.

In this economy and with gas prices how they are, any break is probably welcome to the end-user. However, aside from a super cool pic of the guy from “V For Vendetta” in his Guy Fawkes mask, there is probably not any gigantic plus for fare shoppers from the program.

Have you had a chance to hack a fare through Kayak’s Hacker Fares™ functions? How much did you save?