We do - but I don’t think we need to go that far. All you need to do is to go out and wholeheartedly listen to the current users and what they experience.
You can also just go to yourself. How many times have you faked some dates just to get an idea about how much a trip would cost? In an interface where you have to fake some of the input to get the information you are interested in there is clearly something wrong.
One woman put this very eloquently when she said
Most people don’t know their dates, or even destination, up front. Which is very natural, because their choice of dates and destination depends on, among other things, the price. So you have to fake input, to get the information you need to decide upon the things you first faked. That is clearly not a good interaction model.
Because there is a huge need.
Travel, and in particular flights, has become a lot cheaper and more available, while at the same time the world population is getting richer. The demand is there. So people use the cheapest and easiest way available, which is the current online sites. It doesn’t mean they are happy with them, or that there is no demand for something better. Mobile phones were still pretty popular also before the smartphone came around.
As for statistics, Foolproof wrote some insightful things about this already in 2008 in their OSS Travel report:
Also Google has been looking at this, stating in their report on How Micro-Moments Are Reshaping the Travel Customer Journey
In fact, this is a well known problem and there has been many attempts on solving it. Some better than others. Yet, no one has succeeded in finding a satisfying solution.
This is a complex problem, and I’ve spent the last 10 years developing a theoretically solid solution to it. Together with Anton I’m now able to realize it.
The result is called Avionero.