A budget airline is making it easier to book flights to the exact places you see in Instagram photos

happydancing/ShutterstockBudget airline easyJet is now helping travellers find airfare with the help of Instagram.
  • easyJet recently released a feature on its iOS app called Look&Book that allows users to find and book flights to destinations around the world directly from their Instagram feeds.
  • lNSIDER took the feature for a run to see how well it works.
  • When I tested Instagram screenshots of destinations like Paris and Krakow, the feature matched each location without fail.
  • But, because easyJet doesn’t currently offer flights outside of Europe, the destinations were limited, and it didn’t work when I tried testing a photo of Hong Kong.
  • While the feature is useful for anyone dreaming of a vacation in Europe, it has its limits.

It’s no secret the travel community is heavily entwined with Instagram.

The #wanderlust hashtag on Instagram has over 83 million posts, while the #travel hashtag comes in at nearly 338 million posts. UK-based budget airliner easyJet has taken notice.

The airline recently released a feature on its iOS app called Look&Book that allows users to find and book tickets to destinations around the world directly from their Instagram feeds.

In using typical image recognition technology, the app’s new feature also uses what an easyJet representative speaking to The Telegraph called Optical Character Recognition.” The Look&Book feature tries to “identify where the photo was taken by reading the text and detecting key landmarks,” according to the spokesperson – meaning there’s potential for the feature to confuse a specific landmark and give the user data for a completely different city based on the location listed on Instagram.

We took the feature for a spin to see if it really works.

The app claims to let you book a flight to destinations featured in your Instagram feed simply by taking a screenshot

For the purposes of our trial, we used a photo from the Instagram account Krakow City Guide. The Instagram post can be a photo of any major place, but it’s worth noting that easyJet does have a limited set of destinations.

1Anay Katyal/INSIDERInstagram is filled with plenty of photos from around the world.

Ensure that easyJet’s app is enabled in your photo export settings, then export the screenshot to the app

2Anay Katyal/INSIDEREnabling settings is integral.

The easyJet app isn’t automatically enabled in iOS photo settings, so you’ll have to make sure you take the right steps to make it visible before you get started.

3Anay Katyal/INSIDEREnsure you have the easyJet app installed as well.

A prompt will pop up to ask permission to use the photo. It will then send a push notification to let you know the search is beginning.

4Anay Katyal/INSIDERThere are some additional hoops you have to jump through.

Once you’ve given permission to share the photo to the app and select easyJet’s push notification, you’ll be led to the app.

The app’s Look&Book feature will then analyse the photo and search for relevant airfare

5Anay Katyal/INSIDERLuckily easyJet serves airfare to where my Kraków-obsessed self wants to visit.

When you tap ‘start booking,’ the app presents available flight options to the destination you’ve chosen

Anay Katyal/INSIDEReasyJet then allows you to flip through dates to book a prospective flight.

After feeding the feature a variety of photos, Look&Book was able to successfully peg the location of every image

For every Instagram post I tested, the feature accurately listed the location.

But I imagine if someone toyed with the locations listed on the photos (as illustrated by Telegraph reporter Greg Dickinson) that my test could’ve gone awry. However, assuming that the average Instagram travel post won’t have that issue, Look&Book seamlessly figured out where all the photos were taken.

ParisAnay Katyal/INSIDERMy own experiences with Look&Book were largely positive.

Overall, the feature was relatively intiuitive and easy to use, but, as I mentioned before, easyJet’s limited route map is hard to ignore

For a feature as fun as Look&Book, the company’s offered destinations limits the app’s use to a select segment of users.

I tested a few photographs I had taken in Hong Kong this past year, and while Look&Book was able to tell me the beach picture was indeed taken in Hong Kong, I was met with a rather sad “Oh no! We don’t currently fly there…” message.

Hong kongAnay Katyal/INSIDEReasyJet has a rather limited flight route.

So, if you’re looking at photos of anywhere outside of Europe, the app won’t help you plan a trip. Perhaps, as easyJet expands globally, Look&Book will reach its full potential. For the time being, though, the feature isn’t that useful if the average user can’t fly to a number of places they might find on Instagram.

That said, Look&Book is still a novel addition that creatively takes advantage of Instagram’s existing glut of travel content. If you find yourself late at night binging #wanderlust posts, dreaming of a vacation to Europe – and only Europe – it might be worth giving the app a try.

Watch the video below to find out more about how the Look&Book feature works:

easyJet’s app is currently free and available in the iOS app store.


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