Kayak is Swimming Upstream


What happened to the travel site, Kayak?! What is it with me and companies this summer? I seem to be finding myself disappointed in companies that I have long-trusted more and more. For decades, Kayak has been my go-to travel site for searching for hotels, airline tickets, and cars. Those days are over.

A few years ago, Kayak was subsumed into the annoying Priceline Group, which turned Kayak from a quiet, consistent site into a used-car dealing circus. About a month ago, the site quietly changed it’s logo to a more streamlined version, and also changed some of its policies. Now any search you do seems to trigger a never-ending e-mail blast of spam. The sheer volume of spam that each search produces would make Hormel blush. It’s ridiculous and it’s a guaranteed way to tarnish the brand and kill what was once a great product.

For example, I recently searched for a car rental. About an hour later, I received an e-mail “reminding” me that I hadn’t actually booked the rental (which factually, was in correct, as I used the Avis app to book the rental). Then, about an hour after that the crazy started. Each hour, I received a pestering, obnoxious e-mail “reminding” me to book my car rental. So, I went to the Kayak site and changed all my e-mail preferences so that I would receive no e-mail whatsoever from Kayak. Still, the e-mail persisted, like 20 a day. I mean, seriously, is anyone that much of an idiot that they need 20 reminders each day to complete a travel transaction? There is a line between helpful service and harassment, and Kayak seems to have crossed it with a firehose.

So this morning, I clicked (again) on the little “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the most recent Kayak e-mail. It started a never-ending loop on my iPad of the Kayak app opening and Safari opening—back and forth—until I had to turn my iPad off to get it to stop. As if the volume of spam e-mail wasn’t enough.

So, after two decades of using Kayak, I have deleted the app from my phone and iPad, and I’ll find some other, less intrusive site to use.