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Thursday, September 24, 2015

How Airlines Set Prices. Why They Change So Often and how to beat them.

How do you find the lowest airfare? Based on this detailed article from CheapAir, I guess the solution is find the route or dates you want at the best fare you can find, then check it every few hours/days for changes. The fare sales continue to be a good place to look if you don't mind the brinksmanship. Steve 
...The bottom line is this:
  • It is not uncommon for fares on a particular flight to change on a daily, sometimes even hourly, basis
  • If you see a fare, know that it may not be there the next time you search –it could be higher, it could be lower
  • Neither, nor any other on-line travel agency, has the ability to set prices; we aim to do a really good job at sorting through tens of thousands of options to find the best deals, but it is the airlines and their pricing teams who are actually responsible for those deals
  • Fares on a particular flight will generally increase as the flight becomes more heavily booked but at certain points, fares may fall dramatically if a fare sale is launched or an airline computer determines that booking levels are below where they should be for a given departure date 
...Airlines actually have computer programs that are constantly monitoring flights, analyzing booking patterns, and in real-time changing the number of seats available at each fare level.  If a flight is booking up faster than expected, an airline may decrease the number of seats available at some of their lowest fare levels, or wipe them all out altogether.  If a flight is not selling well, suddenly more seats may appear at fare levels that were previously “sold out”. fares is that, if they are really lower than the other fares in the market, they will be even more limited from an inventory standpoint.   
This great article by CheapAir tells it all: 

Thank you Alex for finding this gem.

Note: I subscribe to alerts, this has sometimes produced interesting results. But checking daily for a while seems to be the best way to search.