Flightdey is a flight comparison website that should allow users compare the fares of domestic air trips among various airlines in Nigeria. “Should” because, one – you can only find Arik flights at the moment, and two – the site is still in beta, hence, one.

Flightdey’s limited beta works like typical flight search. You choose your departure and arrival points, dates and ticket class, and hit search. The website spits out available flights. This is where functionality ends. Clicking a “select flight” redirects you to the airline’s homepage, and doesn’t take any of your inputted values along to prepopulate on their booking form.

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Since it’s a beta, this can be forgiven. But the whole setup leaves you wondering what else there is to see here. In internet time, flight search has been around for eons. The platform’s developers appear to believe that their platform is better than anything else out there because “it covers more local airlines than others do”, as they said in an anonymous email to TechCabal. That is clearly not the case, or more succinctly put, bullshit. At least not right now.

To their credit, the software works, even if limited to one airline, but which in turn renders the point of being a comparison platform moot — of course, this handicap should go away once the right permissions and partnerships are secured, which should allow them enable actual bookings from the platform, and on and on we could go. But there’s no real reason to claim to be better until you actually are.

Another thing to consider is that flight search/comparison is such a crowded and commoditised space, even in Nigeria. Asides the market leader, Wakanow, and its trailing by miles rival, Travelstart, most Nigerian banks with internet banking platforms have added flight search and bookings as value added features available to their customers from right inside their web portals and mobile apps.

The only really interesting thing about Flightdey is that it is riffing off (or is it ripping off?) Dealdey’s name. As far as we can tell, neither Dealdey, Nigeria’s largest discount ecommerce website, nor Sim Shagaya have anything to do with it. In response to an email inquiry, current Dealdey CEO Etop Ikpe told TechCabal that they are definitely “not affiliated with Flightdey”, and are investigating to discover if there are any possible brand infringements.

If all Flightdey does is search and spit out flights that redirect to an airline’s homepage, its claim to be better is no more than empty pre-launch braggadocio that is unfortunately the norm with a lot of startups. Perhaps they can be allowed because the platform is still in beta, and maybe they’ve got some space-age disruptive shit going on in the backend that will light the entire flight search space on fire when they finally take off. But unless there is something else about Flightdey we don’t know — its creators they have chosen to remain hidden, to the point of purchasing domain whois privacy — there is nothing new to see here, except a borrowed name.

Bankole Oluwafemi Author

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