Think you’re ready for a last-minute flight and have a spare pile of cash laying around? Then check out Get The Flight Out!
Released in 2015 by airfare data analysis start-up Hopper, Get The Flight Out! (or GTFO!) bills itself as an app for spontaneous travelers. It analyses outgoing day-of and next-day flights based on the users location and lists last-minute flight deals at a moment’s notice.
Here’s what GTFO!’s info page has to say:
“GTFO! monitors airfares found by travel agents for last-minute round-trips departing today and tomorrow. Enter your home airport and the app will show you the cheapest recently-found deals.”
This seems like an easy, useful app in theory. A constantly updating database of last minute airfares? Count me in! So to check it out and maybe add a bit of spontaneity back into my life, I went straight to the app store.
In practice: round one
The app itself is free, and downloads quickly. I have to give permission for GTFO! to access my location (Boston), and it pulls up four “nearby” airports—two of which are actually within reasonable driving distance. I decide to check out what flights the app has to offer from Logan Airport, since it’s the closest international hub.
The flights and fares it lists are… Well, let’s just say the cheapest trip it finds is a $529 round trip flight from Boston to Rochester, NY leaving at 7:00pm that night. I don’t know why I expected anything different from a last-second airfare, but I’m still disappointed.
For many of the trips, the deals are only “deals” relative to the fact that I’m buying the tickets day-of. The fares it lists aren’t even close to the cheapest round-trips out there if I’m willing to wait a few weeks, or even just a few days. For example, if I leave for Rochester next week instead of tonight, the round-trip cost drops down to $361. Three weeks out and it drops to $176.
I do find some pretty appealing hypothetical vacations. There are flights that day to Berlin, Hong Kong, Paris and Taipei to name a few. After looking the list of options over, I spend a few minutes fantasizing of a riche, cosmopolitan life filled with spontaneous jet-setting, fancy suits and $500 haircuts.
But in realty those tickets are way too pricey for me. Sure, I could be standing by the Brandenburg Gate by tomorrow afternoon, but with $2,454 less to my name and no place to stay. The app only shows where I can go—not what I can do once I’m there.
So GTFO! shows me the cheapest flights available day-of. Great! Are they flights I can afford? Nope. (Turns out, I can’t afford spontaneity!)
Add on to this the hassle and cost of a last minute hotel or Airbnb along no time to plan the trip and I get the feeling I won’t be using GTFO! any time soon. This isn’t the app’s fault, but rather a fundamental issue with last-minute travel itself.
Since the app updates every second, I refreshed to see if any new fares or flights had popped up. I found a $363 round-trip flight to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic leaving Boston at 8:47pm! That’s a pretty good deal considering the fare for a flight leaving three weeks out is $368.
GTFO! allows me to view the full flight itinerary and where the fare is listed (Travelocity, in this case) before I buy. For the trip to Punta Cana, I find there’s a catch. It’s a trip from Monday, February 15 to Thursday, February 18. Sure, I leave from Boston at 8:47pm, but I have a 10 hour 40 minute overnight layover in Newark. I arrive in Punta Cana at 2:10pm on Tuesday and have to leave on Thursday at 3:10 pm. It’s not much of a vacation. GTFO! delivered on its promise of “cheap” last-minute airfare, but what I get isn’t particularly appealing.
I like the idea of GTFO!, I really do. The app functions well and delivers on its promises. In mere seconds I can have access to every flight still available leaving from the airports closest to me. I can see the destinations and buy the ticket in less than a minute.
GTFO! facilitates spontaneity in the best way. Comparing the fares the app gives to those I could find on Google Flights showed that GTFO! was definitely giving me the best pricing options. But even with all these positives, I don’t imagine GTFO! could or would appeal to many travelers, especially those with any kind of limited budget.
Sure, a last-minute, impulsive vacation sounds exciting. But seeing what the app offers only cements in my mind the importance of planning. Even if I had the disposable income and the flexible vacation days this app requires of its users, I can guarantee I’d still plan in advance.
For what it’s worth: if you have the time and the cash, GTFO! is a great bet. Otherwise, stick to buying in advance.
Did you like this article?