Does Hipmunk Need a Seller of Travel Surety Bond?

Up-and-coming visual flight search engine Hipmunk, known for its color-coded Gantt chart approach to finding airfare, does not actually sell the tickets to the flights it sorts so nicely. Rather, upon choosing an ideal flight, visitors are sent to book through Orbitz while Hipmunk receives $3 per flight sold. A search of the Office of the Attorney General of California reveals that the scrappy San Francisco web startup does not have a Seller of Travel bond.

Since Orbitz does the actual selling (Orbitz does have a Seller of Travel bond in CA) and Hipmunk only provides the slick user-friendly interface which pushes people to Orbitz, the company does not fall under the California Business and Professions Code, Seller of Travel Statute (Hipmunk is both based in CA and sells to residents of CA).

As Orbitz is the company travelers transact with, Hipmunk is not required to “maintain a surety bond of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) issued by a surety company admitted to do business in this state.”