Ticket pricing - is this possible?

Mar 27th, 2013, 03:21 AM
  #1  
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Ticket pricing - is this possible?

Sunday was buying multi-city business trip for husband for 10 days out. As always, I researched fares/options - ran it by him to see if it was OK - and when I went to book it an hour later, fare had gone up $150 (on a $700 ticket). I immediately went to his computer, this time did not sign onto his USAir FF account, and cost was back down to $700. After I booked itinerary, I then signed in - all set.

Went back to my computer and again signed into his USAir account prior to searching and fare was back up to $850. Identical flights for each leg.

I had heard that airlines, cookies on computer and various spying-on-me technology can do this - but had never experienced it.
gail is offline  
Mar 27th, 2013, 04:04 AM
  #2  
 
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It might be fun to think that the changes in fare were part of some spying intrigue, but the real answer is almost surely much simpler.

You first need to understand the concept of how seat pricing (called inventory management) works. To simplify things somewhat, the seats on a flight are divided into several groups, with a different per-seat price for each group. So, suppose that there are 120 seats on the plane, and the airline decides to have 3 price groups. They'll sell the first 40 seats for $700 each, the next 40 at $850, and the last 40 seats at $1000 each.

So this is what likely happened when the OP first saw that the fare had "gone up" by $150. Between the time that OP had first checked and the time that the OP noticed the price hike to $850, another customer had reserved the last seat available at the least expensive price (in the example above, the last $700 seat). The next time that OP checked and the fare was down to $700, it was because the customer who had reserved that last $700 seat decided not to complete the purchase. [The airline's software system might also have made 1 more $700 seat available, but let's not complicate things.] Finally, when OP purchased the ticket, it was for the last $700 seat, and only $850 seats remained available.
DonTopaz is offline  
Mar 27th, 2013, 04:32 PM
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Actually, DonT, there was recent discussion on another travel and tech related board about how online pricing is indeed being managed this way. Call me paranoid, but not a surprise coming from the cherry-picking experts who bring us one new fee after another for an "unbundled" service
Seamus is offline  
Mar 27th, 2013, 06:12 PM
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Still think they are spying on me - but will test my theory when I book other flights. (But I also feel uncomfortable that my computer's camera is looking at me and put a piece of tape over it until my kids laughed at me so much I removed it) - so paranoid I might be as well.
gail is offline  
Mar 27th, 2013, 07:54 PM
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LOL Gail. Maybe they'll send James Bond over to see you
sheri_lp is offline  
Mar 28th, 2013, 02:57 AM
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Gail, I like to confuse them by logging on from numerous computers! That'll teach 'em. lol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2013, 07:37 AM
  #7  
 
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Log into his account and on the summary page, under Toolbox, click on Flight Preferences. On Flight preferences, make sure "Fare options" is set to Coach/Economy and not Preferred upgrade.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Mar 29th, 2013, 07:39 AM
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My assumption is that "Preferred upgrade" means show me the lowest upgradeable fare for a preferred member, and show me the lowest fare.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Mar 29th, 2013, 07:40 AM
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and NOT 'show me the lowest fare'
mrwunrfl is offline  
Mar 29th, 2013, 10:16 AM
  #10  
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I am certain I checked coach/economy - he gets upgraded anyway about half the time. Got to go - my neighbors are spying on me too
gail is offline  

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