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jul 06 2011

Hipmunk adds Wi-Fi to airfare search

(Courtesy Hipmunk.com )

Last fall, BT editor Valerie Rains reported on a new flight search tool called Hipmunk, which features a cartoon chipmunk mascot in aviator goggles and a scarf. Aside from its cute factor, the site has become a big hit due to its simplicity: after a quick search, results are displayed on a bar-graph–style calendar, color-coded by airline. Hours are listed across the top of the chart, and each flight is represented by a bar that stretches between the departure and landing times. In addition, you can sort the listing by price, departure time, or something called "agony," which factors in duration, layovers, and number of stops.

Last week, the site unveiled its newest feature, a small Wi-Fi icon that's shown on any flights that offer in-flight wireless internet. I know, I know. This news should make me excited. But for a site known for its streamlined design, I wouldn't choose Wi-Fi as the one amenity to clutter up the otherwise sleek search screen. (I'd personally rather see an icon representing carry-on allowance, checked baggage fees, or availability of in-flight meals if I had to choose one.)

In general, Wi-Fi is one onboard amenity I personally haven't gotten on board with. I like the radio silence imposed by a flight—it's a few hours that I can stick my nose in a novel and stop worrying about texts and emails.

Am I an old-fashioned snob who can't embrace technology? Or are there others out there like me? Where do you stand on in-flight Wi-Fi? Vote in our poll and sound off in the comments below!

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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