Getting lower airfare may start with clearing your browser
Plane tickets fluctuate all the time, with policies and extra charges that are constantly changing.
But there are some tips and tricks to help you save money and navigate the modern age of air travel.
Airlines now offer a bare bones “basic economy” tier ticket, described by Amanda Norcross of AirFareWatchdog.com as “a cheaper alternative for travelers who are looking for an affordable experience.”
But make sure you read up on what’s included – because it’s not much.
It might seem like you’re saving money, but if you travel with a carry-on bag, you might not be able to bring it on the plane. A basic economy fare puts you in one of the last boarding groups and if the overhead storage bins are full, you may have to shell out $50 to check it.
Oftentimes, you can’t choose a seat assignment or even pay for upgrades, such as a seat with extra leg room.
“The best thing you can do is pack light and maybe expect to sit next to the bathroom,” Norcross said.
If you’re looking for a little more seat security, but finding that ticket prices seem to fluctuate by the minute, you’re right. Similar to Uber’s “surge pricing,” more airlines are utilizing dynamic pricing – changing fares based on demand and – and this is a big one – customer data.
Norcross says it is “absolutely legal” for an airline to use your browsing and search history to determine what you might be willing to pay for a flight.
To avoid tipping them off, clear your computer or device’s cookies and search history, search for flights multiple times on different days and devices and book your flight using an “incognito” browser window.
You can also get the lowest fare by traveling outside of the busiest travel times and by tracking prices through a website like Google Flights or Airfare Watchdog, which can send you alerts if the price drops.