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Airfare - what a racket

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    Airfare - what a racket

    We vacation fairly often but almost never fly so buying plane tickets is not something I'm a pro at doing. We're planning a trip out west this summer so we will be flying for that.

    I first checked prices about a week ago. I believe the flights were $458 at the time. I wasn't quite ready to pull the trigger yet. I took a look again this past weekend, knowing full well that prices are higher when you shop on the weekend regardless of when you will be flying. Sure enough, the very same flights were $569. Obviously, I didn't buy at that point.

    I just went back in tonight and searched again. The price was back down to $478. So I went ahead and booked them. It could dip a bit lower but probably not very much if it does.

    It just amazes me that the price varies that much. Buying over the weekend would have cost us almost $300 extra for the exact same flights. It's really ridiculous when you think about it. I understand supply and demand and price yielding as the date gets closer or the plane fills up (or hotel or cruise ship or whatever). But hiking the price you charge on Saturday over the price you charge on Monday for something that isn't actually occurring for 3-1/2 months is pure BS.

    At least we ended up close to the first price I saw. And of course we picked seats that don't have an upcharge (between $34 and $77 per seat).
    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

    #2
    Do the travel sites still track your computer usage to know when you have looked before?

    I read an article a few years ago and also know people who have found price differences just based on whether they searched on their work computer vs home computer. Prices were higher on the computer they used to search more often.

    Need to delete your history.

    Hopefully the computer savvy folks will chime in on that too.

    Comment


      #3
      airfare prices is a racket as you say, tuesday or wednesday is the best day. try to book early in advance. Most of the airlines copy each other in pricing immediately. If one has a sale, the others follow suit immediately.

      Comment


        #4
        Earlier this month I started tracking airfare for our August vacation. A process I have done for 6 or 7 years now. When I first started doing this, I typically would end up with a better deal than when I first started. The last couple years haven't been as kind. Last year I ended up saving less than $10 for each one way ticket. The two years prior to that I ended up paying as much as $20 more for each one way ticket. Frustrating for sure.

        Every time Southwest advertises one of their low $ deals, I check and see our flight hasn't budged.

        Comment


          #5
          For my 2016 Thanksgiving trip from Los Angeles to Honolulu, Kayak showed $1000 roundtrip for all the major airlines (ie., Hawaiian, American, United, etc.). Ironically, when I searched Allegiant from Las Vegas to Honolulu for that same Thanksgiving dates I wanted the roundtrip was $500. It was a no brainer to catch Southwest (approx. $75 each segment) from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back, and to go with Allegiant from Las Vegas to Honolulu. Allegiant used to fly from Los Angeles to Honolulu but discontinued this route last summer. Luckily for me Allegiant still flies a direct route from Las Vegas to Honolulu. It blows the competition. Even with Allegiant's nickel and diming fee charges it was still cheaper than the major carriers adding to it the Southwest fares as well.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by StormRichards View Post

            Every time Southwest advertises one of their low $ deals, I check and see our flight hasn't budged.
            How ironic. I had one of their stupid e-mails when I logged on this morning. As low as $59

            Our flight remained unchanged at $147

            Comment


              #7
              I had a feeling that all the Cubs fans would be buying up seats to Phoenix for spring training, so I bought very early. Even so, our tickets went up from $370'ish to $450'ish by the time I decided to buy. Now, the seats are $700-$800 to get there and up to $6,161 to get back. That isn't even first class! Most flights, including ours, are sold out on AA. Southwest was more expensive than AA when I booked.

              I have heard that Chicago charges outrageous taxes on anything having to do with our airports, so that plays into our cost as well.

              Comment


                #8
                I have a feeling that a lot of those pricing structures are hands off and are run autonomously by a computer that is programmed with some basic info about supply and demand, when people are likely to purchase, when more people are online, and various other parameters.
                Brian

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by bjl584 View Post
                  I have a feeling that a lot of those pricing structures are hands off and are run autonomously by a computer that is programmed with some basic info about supply and demand, when people are likely to purchase, when more people are online, and various other parameters.
                  I'm sure it's all some grand algorithm. But just imagine if any other industry or product worked that way.
                  Steve

                  * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                  * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                  * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Jluke View Post
                    Do the travel sites still track your computer usage to know when you have looked before?

                    I read an article a few years ago and also know people who have found price differences just based on whether they searched on their work computer vs home computer. Prices were higher on the computer they used to search more often.

                    Need to delete your history.

                    Hopefully the computer savvy folks will chime in on that too.
                    That's correct, airline web site's follow your online cookie trail. If you searched an airline for a certain flight and price, when you come back the airline already knows the quote you were given. You have to clear the cookies from your browser before searching again.

                    My wife is an Airfare Revenue Account for one of the bigger airlines and she's asked this question often. You also have to check the price at odd hours of the night.

                    Another tip, call the airline directly and ask about flight's and prices. They often have cheaper fares that aren't showing on the web site. Most airlines charge an extra fee for booking this way but if the price saves you a $100. then the $30. service fee is a mute point. Your still money ahead.

                    Also ask the airline Rep if they have any repositioning flights that are going to your distention. These are flights that the airline is simply moving aircraft for one reason or another to another city. These flights are often nearly empty and generally only have airline employees flying on them because they don't advertise the flight. The general public is still allow to book them though.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I could've swore you were describing priceline.com

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by msomnipotent View Post
                        I had a feeling that all the Cubs fans would be buying up seats to Phoenix for spring training, so I bought very early. Even so, our tickets went up from $370'ish to $450'ish by the time I decided to buy. Now, the seats are $700-$800 to get there and up to $6,161 to get back. That isn't even first class! Most flights, including ours, are sold out on AA. Southwest was more expensive than AA when I booked.

                        I have heard that Chicago charges outrageous taxes on anything having to do with our airports, so that plays into our cost as well.
                        I just bought tix O'Hare to Phoenix round trip for $290.00. Go Cubs!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Finding lower prices on shiplagged.com

                          Hey disneysteve,

                          I agree that airline ticket prices can vary immensely depending on your destination. It's also true that airlines use your cookie trail to determine whether you've been searching other sites for flights. If you have, the prices displayed areusually higher. What I suggest is clearing your cookies and searching for flights in an incognito window. This will ensure that your cookies cannot be accessed.

                          I also recently came across a site called skiplagged.com. This website searches for tickets to unpopular destinations that have a layover in your desired destination. The logic is that instead of going on to the final destination, you would arrive at your layover destination and throw away the ticket. For example, if you wanted to go to New York City, skiplagged would find a flight to Milwaukee with a layover in NYC. Using this website, Iíve been able to save a substantial amount of money when booking flights to high traffic destinations. I'm also releasing an article on my blog this Thursday that will cover other travel saving tips. Hope this helps.

                          Raphael
                          Check out the go-to blog for personal and professional development
                          thestrongprofessional.com

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by thestrongprofessional View Post
                            I also recently came across a site called skiplagged.com. This website searches for tickets to unpopular destinations that have a layover in your desired destination. The logic is that instead of going on to the final destination, you would arrive at your layover destination and throw away the ticket.
                            I've heard about that. It's a neat idea. We travel by air so rarely that it doesn't do us much good but it's good to keep in mind, especially if you fly a lot.
                            Steve

                            * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                            * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                            * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Drake3287 View Post
                              T
                              Also ask the airline Rep if they have any repositioning flights that are going to your distention. These are flights that the airline is simply moving aircraft for one reason or another to another city. These flights are often nearly empty and generally only have airline employees flying on them because they don't advertise the flight. The general public is still allow to book them though.
                              That sounds really interesting. Does this occur after a major weather event with lots of cancellations? Or, is it less predictable?

                              Comment

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