Remember that online artificial intelligence (AI) that helped people dispute their parking tickets? Well, DoNotPay — the parking lawyer chatbot developed by Stanford University student Joshua Browder a few years ago — has since expanded its services. DoNotDay’s latest addition is retail price protection for air travel and hotel accommodations.
Browder launched DoNotPay’s flight and hotel price protection service on March 6, 2018 — and just like its parking ticket service, it’s completely free and accessible online. Regular travelers know that airplane ticket prices usually change, and DoNotPay can help get them rebooked and refunded whenever that happens.
DoNotPay’s new service works by regularly checking every U.S. airline and air travel booking site for price changes. Once a user registers for free, the bot will automatically look for all the travel confirmations in your email and check for changes in price about 17,000 times a day — or roughly every five seconds — until your flight departs. This isn’t an arbitrary rate, since some routes supposedly change prices every six seconds, according to the Economist.
When the robot lawyer finds that the price has dropped, it will then scan the exact terms of your ticket to “find a legal loophole to negotiate a cheaper price or rebook you.” DoNotPay would then move you to the cheaper flight and make the airlines refund the difference directly to your account. The process repeats until it DoNotPay finds the lowest possible offered for your fare class, or at least until just before your flight’s scheduled departure.
“For example, if someone books a $560 flight from New York to Hawaii on United Airlines and the price drops to $120, they are automatically paid $440 by the airline,” Browder explained in a press release.
With DoNotPay, air travelers could save at least $450 a year, according to beta tests that Browder conducted with a few hundred people.
It’s not surprising that AI thrives in the legal profession. Most — if not all — of the time, legal documents tend to be quite verbose. It’s difficult for people who lack legal expertise to be able to parse through the often-complicated fine print on the back of parking tickets or airline booking contracts.
With AI’s ability to quickly sift through legal jargon, chatbots like DoNotPay can easily become anyone’s instant, easy-to-use online lawyer.