SOURCE: Yapta, Inc.

June 23, 2008 06:00 ET

Yapta.com Makes Finding Flights, Monitoring Airfare Prices & Saving Money on Travel Easier Than Ever Before

Online "Personal Travel Assistant" Seamlessly Integrates Flight Search With Airfare Price Tracking & Savings Alerts

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - June 23, 2008) - Yapta.com, Your Amazing Personal Travel Assistant, today announced the launch of the first travel shopping Web site that integrates customized flight search results with the ability to track airfare prices and create flight-specific savings alerts in a single click. Until today, these combined travel shopping capabilities were possible only by downloading Yapta's Web browser add-on and using it to shop various airline websites for flights. By introducing Yapta.com as an alternative to the browser add-on, travelers can now more quickly find their ideal flights based on their personal travel preferences, start tracking price fluctuations and be alerted via email when fares drop or fall below a desired spending limit. The site also alerts travelers when they're eligible for a travel credit from their airline in the event that a lower fare becomes available on tickets that have already been purchased.

"This evolution of Yapta represents a major step forward for online travel shoppers, including the frequent traveler that needs a personal assistant who knows their budget and travel preferences," said Tom Romary, president and CEO of Yapta. "Travelers today are overwhelmed by choices, and are confused by the frequency of price changes. By providing travelers with a single site where they can find their ideal flights from a number of domestic and international airlines -- and have flight-specific price checks automatically conducted for them on a continuous basis -- we're eliminating all the time-consuming shopping leg work and simply alerting people to the best flights at the best value. Additionally, Yapta protects travelers' interests by connecting them directly with an airline Web site for the purchase of their flight. This approach helps travelers avoid booking fees applied by online travel agencies and maintains their eligibility for an airline travel credit if the price of their flight drops after purchase."

Yapta.com is the only travel shopping Web site that delivers a unique combination of price assurance and transparency to the 71 percent of travelers that buy their tickets directly from airline Web sites. According to research conducted by PhoCusWright, a travel industry research firm, online travel agencies will book only 29 percent of online air ticket sales in 2008 (down from 40 percent in 2003). By channeling ticket bookings exclusively through airline Web sites -- which extend consumers the strongest price protection policies -- and alerting travelers when prices drop or when they're eligible for airline travel credit, Yapta is helping travelers make a more informed and confident purchasing decision.

In addition to introducing a download-free travel shopping experience, Yapta also announced that it will now support airfare price checking on more than 30 domestic and international carriers.

"Broadening the scope of Yapta's airfare price-tracking capability has been among the most requested improvements from our community of frequent travelers," Romary said. "Travelers can now use the Web site to track airfare prices on flights from nearly all major U.S. airlines -- and for the first time -- on the key international carriers as well. Frequent travelers will also appreciate Yapta's ability to store all of their preferences for regularly traveled routes, allowing them to quickly find relevant flight options."

Other new features and functionality introduced with the Yapta.com Web site include:

-- A flight recommendation engine that yields a short-list of relevant flight search results based on a traveler's personal travel preferences

-- A single repository for airline mileage account numbers and travel credits

-- An archive of travel preferences for "frequent trips," including preferred airlines, flight times, and routings

Since the launch of Yapta in late May 2007, hundreds of thousands of people -- from independent business travelers and leisure travelers, to travel agents and meeting planners -- have used Yapta to help them get the most value out of their online travel planning. In total, Yapta has identified over $60 million in savings for travelers in the form of lower ticket prices and travel credits from airlines. Used primarily as a travel planning service by frequent travelers, Yapta has tracked prices on over 1 million flights -- 46 percent of which had a price drop that helped people buy their ticket at a lower price. Meanwhile, 19 percent of airfares tracked after purchase qualified for a travel credit from airlines that have "guaranteed airfare" policies.

"To date, Yapta has done an excellent job of saving people money on airfare," Romary said. "With the enhancements delivered in this Web site release, we'll also be saving people a tremendous amount of time and effort -- and making online travel shopping what it should be; simple."

About Yapta, Inc.

Yapta, Inc. was founded in January 2006 with the mission to help air travelers receive the optimal value out of their online travel planning. Yapta enables travelers to find their ideal flights, track airfare prices and be alerted via email when fares drop or fall below a desired spending limit. Bringing to light pro-consumer "guaranteed airfare" policies offered by many airlines, Yapta also helps travelers obtain airline travel credits when the price decreases on tickets that have already been purchased. Yapta is used by hundreds of thousands of travelers and many small businesses to not only save on airfare, but also to record personal flight preferences, previous flight searches and mileage account information that can be used to economize future travel planning. For more information about Yapta, visit www.yapta.com.

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