I recently searched on a well-known budget airline’s website for a flight to Italy in March next year. I found a good price – £172 return. But when I went back a few hours later to book it, it had gone up by £23! I can’t believe the price could change so quickly – is there anything I can do to avoid that in the future? David, Rhyl
It’s possible that you were looking at a popular route. Most low cost airlines use a ‘dynamic’ pricing system that constantly monitors how well flights are booking. If they’re selling well, it could trigger a move to a more expensive price. You might just have been unlucky that this happened between the time you searched and booked.
But there could be another reason. Some websites put what’s called a ‘cookie’ on your computer when you visit them. These days, you’ll normally see a warning about cookies when you first go to the site. A cookie is a little file that contains a range of information, such as when you visited and what you’ve searched for. It means the sites could know what you were quoted originally – and if they think you’re still keen, they might put the price up a bit, knowing that you’re likely to continue with the booking. The problem is you’ll never quite know whether it was the cookie that caused the price rise, or just bad luck to book at the wrong time.
One thing you can try is to clear your cookie folder. How you do this will vary depending on what type of computer you have and the browser you’re using. Best to do a search to find out. If the price has gone up, get rid of those cookies and try booking again to see if it goes back down.
Another way around this is to book through a travel search engine like Skyscanner.com. Because you’re not going direct to the airline website – it’s Skyscanner who are doing this – then your pricing should be anonymous to the airline.