A Million Ways to Fly

US: A slick site uses sophisticated search technology to make travel planning cheaper and easier

Greg Miller for TIME

Steve Hafner, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, and Paul English CTO and co-founders of Kayak.com.

How does a company survive in a turbulent industry crowded with giant competitors? It helps to be fast, nimble and easy to maneuver — like a kayak in rough water. That's the reason Steve Hafner, 39, and Paul English, 44, named their upstart travel website Kayak.com in 2005. "A lot of kayakers were annoyed with us," admits Kelly Pelletier, the site's vice president of communications. Why? Because Kayak.com doesn't actually tell you anything about kayaks. Instead, it uses proprietary technology to mine data from 450 airlines to help find the best rate for any trip. (It also...

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