Flight booking hack: Keep your searches top secret

Have you ever been looking for a flight that you’re not quite ready to book, and every time you go back to check the price, it gets higher and higher?

You’re trying your best to be a savvy money-saver. But it seems to be working against you.

Yeah, it'd be nice to go here. Photo Courtesy of
Yeah, it’d be nice to go here. Photo: Courtesy of Flight Hacking Dojo

Whether you’re looking to go crazy swimming with sharks for the ultimate adrenaline buzz or kick back with a strawberry daiquiri on the beach (don’t worry, we won’t judge you), we all tend to have one thing in common: finding bargains. People who succeed with traveling on a budget do two things very well: First, they identify techniques that get them results. Second, they put 100 percent of their resources into executing those techniques.

Get yourself onboard. Photo: Courtesy of Ross Parmly/Unsplash
Get yourself onboard. Photo: Courtesy of Ross Parmly/Unsplash

But you’re probably wondering, “How do I find booking strategies that actually work?”

Today I’m going to make it easy for you. All you need to do is carve out a few minutes of your day and read just one flight-booking method today. I’m going to be teaching you tons more over the next few weeks with much more.

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If you want to know the best days to book and fly on, and how far in advance to book, you’re in the right place. I’ll even teach you the Django Technique and the S7 Code Cheat.

Ready? Welcome to the Flight Hacking Dojo. Let’s begin:

It happens to me all the time: I go to book a flight, find a great price, but hesitate. Mostly because I want to have a look at other sites to compare options before I commit.

You’re not crazy for thinking that a flight price has changed after searching it a few times. Based on the cookies in your browser, flight prices do increase when a particular route is repeatedly searched, as the site wants to scare you into booking the flight quickly before prices get even higher, increasing your urgency to buy and punishing you for trying to get a good deal.

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In this section, I will teach you how to stop that from happening to you.

Why does this happen?
Because some airlines and flight search engines use cookies to track you, and when they realize you are interested in that particular flight, they hike up the price for a higher profit.

What is a cookie?
A cookie is a small file that is downloaded from a site when you visit it. Cookies are typically used to manage items in your shopping cart, personalize your experience by offering relevant content and track the pages visited over time. Generally speaking, cookies aren’t a big deal.

Cookies actually improve the customer experience on most sites. Prices on most sites are static; they won’t change regardless of how often you check them. But airfares are different in this regard.

How airlines abuse your search history

When you search a specific route, the cookie stores the details. It also remembers the dates and number of passengers. What this means is that their server can see if a specific route is in high demand — by you. When something is in demand, the price will increase.

We’ve run tests on tickets that we eventually purchased and it remained true almost every time. The more you search a route, the more the price increases. But don’t let inflated ticket prices keep you from traveling or make you pay over the odds.

Need proof? See our little experiment. After a couple of days checking prices, we are offered this price, which kept rising:

Photo Courtesy of Flight Hacking Dojo
Photo: Courtesy of Flight Hacking Dojo

Just seconds later, using an incognito browser:

Photo: Courtesy of Flight Hacking Dojo
Photo: Courtesy of Flight Hacking Dojo

That’s a massive savings of $93 for simply using an incognito browser and not letting the websites see your browsing history!

How you can get around this is by using an incognito browser when searching for flights. This stops the website seeing your cookies — what you have already looked at and searched — so they can’t go “Oooh, this guy keeps checking flights to Barbados; he must really want to go … Let’s put the price up because we know how keen he is.”

The moral of the story? Always search for flights in incognito or private browsing mode to see the lowest prices.

If you’re using Google Chrome or Safari, incognito is enabled by hitting Command (or “Control,” if using PC), Shift, N. Note: If you’re using an older version of OSX, open Safari, then click “Safari” in the menu bar and select “Private Browsing.”

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If you’re in Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer, hit Command (or “Control,” if using a PC), Shift, P. This will open a new browser window where your information is not tracked, thus not inflating prices as you search.

Photo: Courtesy of Flight Hacking Dojo
Photo: Courtesy of Flight Hacking Dojo

Your cookies are reset each time you reopen an incognito window. So if you want to start with a clean slate for each flight search (so your previous searches aren’t “remembered,” potentially inflating costs), close all your incognito windows, open a new one and then perform your flight search.

Good job. You’ve just learned your first flight hack!

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Check out the original article: Flight Hacks You Can Use for Ridiculously Cheap Bookings Today.

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