This is a complete shock to me… although maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised. I’d like to think anyone on here doesn’t need to pay for their flights because we’ve all racked up enough free frequent flyer miles and what not. But the reality is, I like to know how cheap the flight is going to be before I pay with miles and sometimes I do pay for flights. Normally if I do it’s straight from AA.com but odder things have happened. Anyways…
The other day at the end of an Ultimate frisbee game, my teammate Carter said something I just couldn’t believe but of course I had to test it myself. (Yes, there are Ultimate frisbee teams!) He said “and I just found out that airline tickets cost more if they know you’ve been looking for them. So you have to clear your cookies and stuff. That’s screwed up!” He had no idea how travel obsessed I am and what not and suddenly he got my attention.
So today I tried it. We can be pretty sure that my cookies are filled with flight searches and all that jazz so I just checked prices cleared cookies and then checked again.
Here’s what I got on Kayak for IAD – SIN, April 1 – April 8.
$1,000 on Qatar, however Expedia.com showed a little bit more.
$1,310 on Expedia. I checked on a bunch of different platforms and took screen shots along the way. Then cleared all my cookies and browsing data and tried again. Then went straight to Kayak and it had the same $1,000 ticket. Kayak seemingly confirmed my instinct that it was a bunch of fiction. Until I searched on Expedia again. May you not believe your eyes!
$1,000 for the same Qatar flight that they were charging $1,310 on a minute before a cleared my browsing data! I sat here going back and forth between the two screen shots. Yep. Qatar flights 52 and 642 on April 1 – April 8. What the heck!?
But just because the same thing happen on the other search aggregators in this example, doesn’t mean they aren’t doing it too! All I know is that they can do and they do do it! (On a side note, notice that Kayak found cheaper rates than expedia for Qatar and United).
Did anyone know this already? Is it common flyer-nerd knowledge and I just never cared? Are other people as annoyed as Carter was when he found this out? It seems backwards to me – but it seems to me that you want to give people who are looking incentive to buy from you. Or do people just not cross check prices?