I travel often enough that keeping track of the little details is cumbersome. For years, I’ve relied on sites like TripIt to try to magically siphon the pertinent details out of all those confirmation emails and aggregate them into a single itinerary.
TripIt works well, but it (like its competitors) isn’t perfect all the time. Sometimes it gives up entirely. More importantly, I don’t feel comfortable forwarding everything about my travel to a third party for their inspection–how are they really paying for that free AI-powered parsing service? My information shouldn’t ever have to leave my inbox. But I don’t want to have to sort through it myself either.
Fortunately there’s a solution: travel providers can embed JSON-LD metadata in every confirmation e-mail. Doing so makes the details of the message completely machine-readable. Exactly what to do with the encoded information is up to the user and his or her e-mail client, but that’s the point: it frees our information from third party silos and open up all kinds of uses. There are predefined schemas for describing flights, trains, hotels, rental cars, and more.
A few tech-forward companies like EventBrite and Lufthansa do this already. Where’s everybody else?