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Transportation AI Software The Almighty Buck

A Chatbot Can Now Offer You Protection Against Volatile Airline Prices (theverge.com) 24

The same bot, DoNotPay, that helped users overturn parking tickets and sue Equifax for small sums of money is now offering you protection against volatile airline prices. The Verge reports: Joshua Browder, a junior at Stanford University, designed the new service on the bot in a few months, after experiencing rapidly fluctuating airline prices when flying to California during the wildfires last year. "It annoyed me that every single flight, I could be paying sometimes double or even triple the person next to me in the same type of seat," he told The Verge. Browder first used the service himself and then tested it among his friends in a closed beta. He claims that the average amount saved among the beta testers is $450 a year, though it's not clear how many flights were booked and how much they cost. The service is available to the public starting today. To use it, log in with a Google account, input your phone number, birthday, and credit card information through Stripe. (Browder swears the credit card information won't be stored.) Then the chatbot tells you you're all set. Now, every time you buy airline tickets, whether from an airline's site or a third party, the chatbot will help make sure you pay the lowest price for your class and seat.
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A Chatbot Can Now Offer You Protection Against Volatile Airline Prices

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  • So, this "chat bot" just searches Kayak for you? Does it do anything else at all?

  • "swears the credit card information won't be stored"???

    Please.... if it weren't going to be stored, it wouldn't be required in the first place.

    • It can do a dollar hold, and that verifies that you're a real person. A lot of places do this, and when you hear "they swear it won't be stored" it could very well be they don't want to spend the money it takes to stay in PCI compliance, among other legal reasons.
  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2018 @06:12PM (#56255327)
    "How does it make you feel that the 'airlines are bending you over and raping you with their prices'?"
    Or is this going to be more like Clippy?!
    tink - tink - "Hey I see you're trying to book a flight to Hawaii, I see flights nearby to Alaska are much cheaper"
  • It is 1995 again. Bots are going to take over the world!
  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2018 @06:43PM (#56255459)

    Is it:

    • a "Cross my heart" swear?
    • a "Pinkie Swear" swear?
    • Or some kind of other swear?

    We really need to know this in order to validate what type of security risks is involved in using this service.

  • For GMail users? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Tuesday March 13, 2018 @07:30PM (#56255643) Homepage Journal

    from their site:

    "How it works.
    Flight and hotel prices change all the time. DoNotPay finds travel confirmations from past bookings in your inbox. When the price drops, the robot lawyer will find a legal loophole to negotiate a cheaper price or rebook you."

    • Re:For GMail users? (Score:5, Informative)

      by schnipschnap ( 739127 ) on Tuesday March 13, 2018 @08:27PM (#56255891)

      Thank you for the only? useful comment in this thread. If the editor is listening, it might have been useful to have had this information in the summary.

      Here's some information from the article on the legal loopholes:

      The chatbot uses American rebooking rules on a ticket to switch flights and obtain refunds. It uses rules like the “24 hour rule [transportation.gov],” weather warnings, and airline compliance with laws against price gouging [businessinsider.com] to find cheaper tickets. Every five seconds, the chatbot checks for a deal up until the time of your departure, when weather and cancellation loopholes appear more often, according to Browder. DoNotPay actually books and holds the seat for you with its own money until your old seat can be canceled, using the bot’s VC funding.

      Because it isn’t versed in other countries’ rebooking rules, the chatbot only works on US airlines with flights that depart from inside the US, whether domestic or international. It doesn’t work for flights flying from international into the US. (The chatbot can also check for lower hotel prices from five hotel chains, including Hilton, Intercontinental, Hyatt, Marriott and Best Western, but it doesn’t cover every hotel yet.)

  • "The Hero the World Needs" refers to the success of this BOT fighting parking tickets https://www.theguardian.com/te... [theguardian.com] Parking tickets are a problem that you want to get rid of. BOT fails and you pay the ticket. In contrast, an airplane ticket provides a service that you decided that you want or need. With your ticket and reservation in hand, you are starting with something positive. This will get you there and back. So you send your google information, credit card, and other information to donotpay.co
  • Greed is good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ... I could be paying sometimes double or even triple ...

    It's called pure capitalism; what Americans claim to be the only thing that works, when the rest of the world is running smoothly on a socialist-capitalist economy.

    If you don't like pure capitalism, don't elect politicians declaring "greed is good" or even "business as usual"; that's just agreeing to drop your panties. In turn, that means avoiding Republicans and Democrats at the ballot box.

    • Yeah. Voting Libertarian! That's the ticket! Look at all the good the many Libertarians in Congress have done! Or the Greens!

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