6

This afternoon I posted a trip on darjeelin.com, and after 4 hours, received no offers for a cheaper flight. I, however, found a flight option for $100 less during the same time period, and since then I have found options for roughly $300 less, which tells me that it shouldn't have been hard for one of their experts to find a cheaper price, if only the "right one" had looked.

This makes me wonder if there is a particular time of day, or particular day of the week, when a request on Darjeelin will be seen by more of their experts, and have better results.

Or are there other tricks for this (or similar) sites?

  • 2
    Find a good Darjeelin expert and agree to pay them directly if they find you a cheaper flight :) I believe @MarkMayo is an expert there. – JonathanReez Jan 2 '15 at 19:05
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    I suspect a lot of experts are on Christmas holidays still... – Mark Mayo Jan 2 '15 at 20:26
  • After 4 hours you received no offers for a cheaper flight, or did you not receive any email from darjeelin? Their site says that if their experts do not find a cheaper flight "we send you an email confirming your fare is good and should be booked as soon as possible". Is there the possibility that your email just wasn't seen, therefore no better offer was even searched? – gmauch Jan 10 '15 at 11:19
  • @gmauch: I received the email you described, saying my fare was "good." – Flimzy Jan 12 '15 at 15:21
5

Speaking as an expert, there are several problems with the concept of Darjeelin:

  • The expert's work is not rewarded, unless the customer buys an option

    As the fee for creating a price check is very low (1,5€) there are a lot of price checks, of which only a very low percentage actually buy an option (I think around 10%). A lot of customers invest only 1.5€ and several hours of work won't be rewarded at all. (Good) experts are not willing to work for that little money.

  • 4 hours is too short

    If you open a price check at 2am UTC, chances are very high that you won't receive any options, because most of the experts are European.

    So it's possible that one expert knows a trick for your route, but he can't submit a proposal, because he won't ever see your price-check.

  • The price to beat requires the customer to search for flights

    The price for buying a proposal depends on the difference between the customer's price and the expert's price. The customer tries to set a low price to beat in order to save money by looking for cheap flights. That way he works against the expert. At the same time the expert does not put much effort in searching if the price to best is low. The result is lower quality of the proposals.


In my opinion the old modell of flightfox delivered better results for the customer and was more attractive for experts. In order to attract best experts, you need to pay the fee upfront, so it is assured that the best proposal will actually earn some money (unless the experts cant find a better option).

Unfortunately they changed their business model and got rid of a lot of experts (including me).

The only website that offers real Crowdsourcing on flights and is still attractive for experts is Chimpando. Unfortunately there are not many requests yet.

4

The 'problem' (or feature, depending on your timing) with flightfox, darjeelin and others is that you're relying mostly on part-time experts looking for flights for you. So if you pick the wrong time, it may take a while to get someone on to look at it for you.

Also, and I found this especially with flightfox when I was an expert there, complex flights tend to get less attention from the experts unless there's some more money involved.

It comes down to cost-benefit. If you're an expert and you have an hour to search some flights, you're going to look at the ones you think you can do well and get cash for. So for me, when I saw a south Pacific one, I'd usually target it as I know a few little lesser-known sites and airlines. I also know tricks in South America. Europe the competition is just crazy, so I'd often avoid those - and there were too many little weird details - some people would be fine with a RyanAir airport (eg Vienna's one is in a different country - Bratislava, Slovakia!), while others wouldn't be, some would be ok with trains, etc etc, and then you had to factor in trains or boats as an alternative - it was messy.

So my suggestions from my time in it, as an expert wanting to get a win:

  • be clear. Describe everything you need. It's so, so frustrating when someone doesn't mention baggage, you find a great flight, then they respond 'oh I needed baggage, plus space for my skis'. Where's that in your request??
  • be simple, if you can. Sometimes there were ones where they'd list 5 frequent flyer programs that they were on, and how they had 3 children, aged 1.5, 7, and 13. Good grief. Some sites don't cater for searching for that very easily. Sure, if you have a family you want a deal for it, but it's an extra layer.
  • be flexible. Wanting a flight between 7 and 8am on a Tuesday? That's cool, but it's harder to find a flight that beats the other price that someone's already posted, I'm not going to bother trying to beat it. If it's flexible I can look at weird airlines or other tricks for you.
  • time or day or week? Nope, not that I know of - you could ask them I suppose, but assuming a lot of their experts are US based (may not be true - I'm not), perhaps evenings US. But a lot of the time it's just a bit of luck.
  • finally, if you can beat the price, why not join? ;)

Also, consider posting in the chat sometimes. Occasionally one of us will be in a price-hunting mood, and happy to help!

  • finally, if you can beat the price, why not join -- I've thought of joining, but the darjeelin singup form is intimidating, and makes it appear that if I don't have experience with professional flight booking software that I may as well not bother. – Flimzy Jan 23 '15 at 16:24
  • @Flimzy I don't have experience with that, and they let me in ;) – Mark Mayo Jan 24 '15 at 0:47
  • Good to know. I may give it a shot. :) Are you getting rich off of it? :) – Flimzy Jan 24 '15 at 1:00
  • @Flimzy I don't play it much. I far preferred flightfox until the change, plus I met and liked the cofounders :/ – Mark Mayo Jan 24 '15 at 6:02

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