Airlines operate to make money and not as a public service which is why flights seem to jump from one price to the next day after day. It is very difficult to find the best fare. This becomes even more difficult when the airline is doing nothing to help you find the lowest one.
According to FlyerTalk Delta has been quoting higher fares for fliers when they are logged in versus when they are logged out. This started back in 2010 and Delta was in no rush to resolve this issue because most people didn’t notice it and it was in their best interest. Delta eventually addressed it and promised to look into it to satisfy its frequent fliers.
This brings us to our first tip:
1. Perform More Than One Search For the Same Flight
I am sure you are already searching across multiple sites such as Kayak, Orbitz, Hipmunk, etc. but I am sure it didn’t occur to you to perform the search logged in and logged out. If you are planning to fly Delta, for example, do your flight search while logged out. You can always enter your skymiles number later at check out. You never know if they fixed the glitch or just let it slip again. Delta is known to have a buggy system as it is so just keep that in mind. As far back as 2010 this has been reported and it is still being reported today.
They were getting nearly a $300 difference for an economy fare. Lisle was getting the cheaper ticket and he wasn’t logged in to his Sky Miles account. They thought a call to Delta would clear things up.
2. Search for One Seat at a Time
If you ever asked the person sitting next to you on your flight what they paid I am sure it is very different the amount you did. This could be due to a number of factors but one thing is for sure and that is airlines will charge different fares for the same seat all the time.
They group these seat into price buckets. Once a bucket sells out, the airlines quote the next price, which is usually higher. This isn’t an issue unless you are buying 2 seats together. For example, if you need two seats together and the seats are in different buckets you will most likely be given the higher priced bucket for both tickets. The best way around this unfair price increase is to search for one seat at a time. Then search again for 2 seats and see if they price has changed. If it does book one at the lower price and the other at the higher price separately. This way you are at least saving on one of the seats.
3. Call to Book Award Travel
Award travel can be tricky to book especially when you have to use glitchy systems that produce different results on a daily basis. This is especially true for Delta and The Points Guy says:
try calling Delta and asking an agent for help. Some agents (especially Platinum and Diamond lines) can be helpful and they have better search tools. Although some people have reported being kicked off the phone for spending too much time with an agent, so your experience may vary. If you happen to get a savvy agent, use them for all they are worth!
He covers how to make the best of Delta’s award calendar here and I recommend checking that out before you book with Delta. This can be true for any airline not just Delta. Airlines love to exclude their partners for international travel. This means its harder to take advantage of those alliances that you should be able to redeem your miles on. If they try to charge you a “booking fee” for calling them to book the flight just explain that you couldn’t book the partner on their search engine and it should be waived.
The bottom line is crosscheck everything. Don’t ever settle one the first result and remember the airlines don’t have your wallets in mind. Some of these little glitches might save you some cash down the line which will lead to more travel.
Via Money Talk News
Photo via Flickr