The flight-search app Hopper has partnered with six airlines to offer fares that are cheaper than the fares those airlines list anywhere else, including on their own websites.

The service, which Hopper calls Secret Fares, went live Wednesday for selected routes on Air Canada, LATAM, Turkish Airlines, WestJet, Copa and Air China. Hopper says it is already offering the Secret Fares for 60,000 nonstop and indirect itineraries.

"These are discounted flights exclusively available on Hopper -- fares on participating routes/carriers will be as much as 35% cheaper than the same ticket available online somewhere else," Hopper says.

Hopper said customers will be able to save up to $500 on long-haul flights that won't be found anywhere else, including metasearch sites.

In an interview, Hopper head of growth and business Dakota Smith said that the Secret Fares program will be disruptive in airline distribution and will especially impact metasearch sites and OTAs. Airlines will file the fares they offer exclusively to Hopper with ATPCO via a pseudo city code, just as airlines do when they create fares that are specific to one travel agency. Hopper can push out those fares directly and privately to consumers through its app.

Key to Hopper's value proposition to airlines is its business model, Smith said.

Users of the app don't simply search for a flight like on a website. Instead, they create a long-term fare watch for a specific route, then wait for Hopper to send out push notifications when the airfare drops to a level that leads the app's algorithm to conclude it is time to buy. Hopper users add more than 150,000 fare watches each day and Hopper says its sends more than 400 million push notifications annually. The app determines when to recommend a flight purchase by tracking billions of daily fare searches in the GDSs and combining those results with historical sales data.

Hopper users typically set their fare watches four to five months before departure, which is 90 days earlier than consumers commonly query a website for a fare. So, providing cheap fares to Hopper should allow airlines to get a jump on early bookings, Smith said.

Smith said an airline's competitors will have difficulty matching the Hopper fare because it’s not easy to find, unlike a fare on an airline's website, which revenue-management software will easily locate. But fares pushed out in the closed environment of an app, Smith said, are more difficult to scrape.

"To date, mobile hasn't really disrupted the selling of travel because nobody has used the parts of the phone that are interesting," Smith said, referring to push notifications. "This is a great example of getting suppliers to innovate with us and see the opportunity there."

In addition to the six carriers that have begun supplying Hopper with exclusive cheap fares, seven others have inked deals to join the Secret Fares program, Smith said. None of those carriers are from the U.S., though Smith added that Hopper is "very far along" in talks with one of the major U.S. airlines and is also talking to a few secondary U.S. airlines.

That major carrier is likely American or United, since Delta and Southwest don't distribute through Hopper.

Hopper said that in beta testing of the Secret Fares program, airlines have seen major leaps in conversion. For example, one undisclosed airline saw its share of U.S.-Asia bookings within the app increase from 4% to 30%.

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