Michael Strickland's blog on all things travel: news, deals, destinations, dreams and more.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bait and switch?

I've expressed some of my airline conspiracy theories in the past, including the ol' "bait and switch." How often have you found a low fare, visited another website to compare, and come back to the first site only to find the fare has gone up? I've even had this happen without leaving the site I'm searching. On Orbitz, for example, it's common to search a route, select a fare that I like, only to get a "Sorry, that fare is no longer available" message.

It seems I'm not alone in my conspiracy theorizing. featured an article today about this phenomenon, which the airline industry is explaining away by saying the lower fares are "cached" to enable faster searching. So even though they show up in search results, they might not actually be available. The recommendation: if you see a fare you like, buy it right away, instead of price-comparing elsewhere.

Hmmm... that recommendation seems to lean a bit heavily in favor of the airlines, no? Or maybe I'm just making up another conspiracy theory.



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