How to search for best flight deals

Rates in certain aggregator portals don’t go up with each search

S Pradeep, a senior developer working for an online portal, recently decided to take a flight to Delhi and was researching on the best deals. He checked for the rates at various portals by giving details of the day and time of travel. He did this many times over during the week and was surprised to find the rates inch up.

This is not the first time it has happened to him. He found that whenever he browsed to check rates multiple times, the rates went up.

So, if you are logging into the website of an airline (or any other flight booking portal) multiple times, the website deciphers, thanks to its algos, that you are interested in buying a ticket. And it makes a good guess that you will buy the flight ticket even if the prices are jacked up. So, the price increases.

“Our prices only reflect the price charged by the airline companies,” says Thomas CT, a corporate communication official with Cox & Kings, a travel company that has flight booking options at its portal. And online pricing is increasingly a function of demand and supply at a point in time, he confirms.

Technicalities

When a customer visits a flight booking portal, a data file, popularly called ‘cookie,’ is created by the website and stored in your browser. It stores various other information such as your login and passwords or details of flight route preference chosen and so on. So, the next time you browse, the website knows a lot about your preference.

Some software experts believe it is the cookies that share information with the airline website which, in turn, jacks up the price.

While clearing the cookie could perhaps do away with the worries, Pradeep and many others have found a smarter way to circumvent the problem.

They use the portals of flight aggregators such as Skyscanner.co.in or Ixigo.co.in to do the flight booking. Here you get the option to check the flight prices without actually keying-in the exact date.

For instance, Skyscanner.co.in has an option to choose an entire month (say, October or November) and it displays the ticket price of the flight for the route under consideration on all dates. The airline companies are usually not seen to jack up the price, as the browser hasn’t captured any particular date for travelling.

Anecdotal evidence shows that price doesn’t go up when you check prices this way through flight aggregators. Moreover, these websites give options to chart ticket prices over the month, enabling travellers to pick and choose the cheapest days for those having flexibility in travelling.

However, even if you are using other agggreator websites, the first thing you should do is decide on the day of travel. Then, you can log into the website of a flight aggregator and check the rate and zero in on the flight. After finalising the airline and the timing, just go ahead and do the booking in the first instance. This will ensure the flight rates don’t go up.

Moreover, don’t forget to check if there are any discounts on offer. For instance, ixigo.co.in offers ₹500 off for new users. Go through the fineprint before availing of such offers. Some websites might ask you to e-mail them the ticket details within two days of booking.

Ensure you comply with the rules to bag the discounts. Happy flying!

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