A Paean to Hipmunk

Wednesday, May 12th, 2021

For years, Hipmunk.com was my preferred site for finding flights. With an innovative interface that showed flights from multiple airlines and made it possible to sort by more than just price, they made travel search dramatically better. In the words of former marketing director Alexis Ohanian, they “took the agony out of online travel search”.

Hipmunk’s front page was friendly and made it easy to start your search:

The old Hipmunk.com site
Circa 2016, captured via the always helpful Internet Archive Wayback Machine

As you can see, the front page also prominently featured Chippy, the company’s adorable mascot. The little chipmunk appeared throughout the site, most notably in the site’s tremendous loading animation. While results were being retrieved after you submitted a search, Chippy would be shown, pretending to be an airplane:

Hipmunk's adorable loader image
[Image via Dribbble]

As I waited, I would often join the bucktoothed rodent. You’re never too old to pretend to fly.

What with the global pandemic you may have heard tell of, I haven’t flown in quite some time. As such, I haven’t needed Hipmunk since late 2019, or earlier. However, I’ve now received both shots of the COVID vaccine, and a family matter recently had me needing to check flights. I visited hipmunk.com, and was horrified to discover that the site was no more.

Apparently, Hipmunk was acquired by business travel behemoth SAP Concur in 2016. Though Hipmunk managed to hang on for a few more years, SAP Concur shuttered the site early last year. The domain now leads to the most soulless, corporate garbage ever:

The new landing page for hipmunk.com
Awful. Just awful.

I am distraught. SAP Concur, you have sucked joy from the world. You’re bad, and you should feel bad.

Those monsters, or someone in league with them, even removed Hipmunk’s former Wikipedia page.1 I hope this article can serve as a memorial to a once-great service, now lost to time and bureaucracy.

So long, and thanks for all the flights. You’re flying with the angels now, Chippy.


Footnotes:

  1. Amusingly, there is a LinkedIn page for Chippy, at least until the faceless flunkies at SAP Concur notice. Maybe Google Flights can hire Chippy to work for them. ↩︎


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