Onetravel sucks at dark patterns

Security research Ophir Harpaz was trying to book a flight using Onetravel; as she browsed available itineraries, she couldn't help but notice a prominent warning that "39 people are looking at this flight" (this is a cheap gimmick, one of the many "dark patterns" that once lured naive internet users to making rash decisions, but whose efficacy has since regressed to the mean).

Being a security researcher Harpaz started taking apart the web-page to see what was going on with this little dark-pattern widget. Her first clue that something was up was the name of the element's class: view_notification_random.

A little look in the page's associated scripts revealed that the widget just picked a random number between 28 and 45 and warned you that view_notification_random people are looking at this flight!

It's a kack-handed bit of fraud that demonstrates that Onetravel isn't even good at grifting — so how good can they be at helping you buy your plane tickets?