An Aussie tech entrepreneur has developed an app designed to make booking a flight as easy as catching an Uber.
CheckMyFares express, or CMFx for short, is an industry-first tool that allows Aussies to compare last-minute flights and access heavily reduced fares.
According to its CEO, Leonard Padowitz, the CMFx app is designed to help fill the empty seats on domestic and international flights, while giving the traveller a fast, Uber-style booking experience and control over when they will pay for their flight.
Padowitz co-founded BYOjet and JETMAX, growing the company into a $100 million business in just five years before they were acquired by Flight Centre in 2015.
“In response to the current global crisis, we are seeing many travellers who booked flights months in advance who were unable to get a prompt refund, if at all, and in some cases pay high cancellation fees, even though the flight was cancelled by the airline through no fault of theirs,” he said.
“The CMFx app’s ‘FlyNow!’ feature allows travellers to pay for their flight when they fly and to book the next available flight, taking advantage of last-minute fares including low-cost carriers like Jetstar, Scoot and Air Asia.”
Very few flights fly full, even before the global pandemic. According to ABS data released in January 2020, there is an average of 42,000 empty seats every day on domestic flights across Australia and more on international flights.
“Australians would be shocked by the number of empty seats there are on most flights. Every empty seat is an opportunity for Australians to get cheap flights. The current system isn’t set up to help travellers take advantage of this massive opportunity,” Padowitz explained.
“In the market for last-minute flights, there is a lack of communication between airlines and travellers. That’s where CMFx comes in. We are giving airlines the tool and opportunity to share these last-minute flights, and we’re giving travellers the tool to view and book them. Everybody wins.”
In addition, CMFx negotiates exclusive member-only fares, at heavily reduced rates, that are not publicly advertised. This gives the airline a channel to release special fares to the market to a closed subscription group and CMFx members have access to these exclusive fares.
“The CMFx app also offers the ‘Flash Sales’ feature to address another gap we see in the industry,” he said.
“Some negotiated airfares cannot be released on mass or on aggregator platforms, so again there is a disconnect between the airline and the traveller.
“By creating a closed user group where airlines can share these reduced negotiated fares, Australian travellers can now access some of the best fares available on the market.
Padowitz predicts that Australians will continue to return to air travel as borders reopen and life returns to normal after having been restricted for so long because of COVID-19, but they will also be wary with their spending, having watched airlines and travel companies collapse.
“Ultimately, when international travel opens again, the demand for flights overseas is expected to be high and that could drive up the price,” he said.
“There are likely to be a lot of empty unsold seats and airlines wanting to offer great last-minute fares, and the CMFx app can easily connect members with these deals.”
The CMFx app is available on both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store.