Rafi Mohammed

Want to Save a Bundle on Airline Tickets? Read this Blog

Posted on May 22nd, 2007 (2 Comments)

This morning I got so excited when I read Scott McCartney’s Wall Street Journal article titled “How to Get Money Back When Airfares Drop” that I wanted to share it immediately. This blog also marks the start of a new feature that I’ll run occasionally, “Personal Pricing.” Given that pricing for businesses is our vocation, my bet is that readers are also interested in pricing tips for their personal lives as consumers.

Airfares…*sigh*…constantly fluctuating prices (I’ve seen fares swing by as much as 50% in one day) and millions of price changes everyday. This complexity naturally leads consumers to fret about what price they should purchase a ticket at and even after purchasing, wonder if they got the best deal. My friends, Yapta.com is offering a great (and even better…it’s free) service that I bet will save you money.

Did you know that once you’ve purchased an airline ticket (even a non-refundable one), you may be eligible for a refund if fares go down on your specific flights? Alaska, JetBlue, Southwest, United, and US Airways will send you a voucher for the fare difference and they don’t even charge a fee for this service. Other airlines also offer refund vouchers, but they charge service fees ranging between $25 - $100. Additionally, some airlines will even refund you cash (service fees range between $35 - $100). Sounds great, but here’s the catch: after you’ve booked your trip, you have to constantly monitor the prices of your exact flights. If you find lower prices, contact the airline and they’ll issue you a refund.

Let’s face it, it’s no fun to regularly check prices and what are the odds that even if you do check every few days, you’ll be able to catch one of those seemingly random temporary discounts? Enter Yapta.com. By simply registering on their web site and downloading their easy-to-use software, Yapta will constantly monitor prices for your travel itinerary. If prices drop, they will send you an email. What could be easier?

Yapta also helps out in another beneficial manner. Given our busy schedules, for most trips there are usually only a few flights that we are interested in purchasing. For example, there are dozens of different daily flights between Boston and Los Angeles (non-stops and connections). But whenever I head out to LA, I’m really only interested in 2 flights; the 5:30 PM Delta and the 4:55 PM American non-stop flights. Similarly, there are only a few select flights that I’m interested in for my return. What’s great about Yapta’s service is that using their software, Yapta will constantly check the exact itineraries (specific airline flight numbers) that I’m interested in purchasing. If prices decrease, I’ll receive an email and then I have to decide whether the price is low enough for me to purchase or roll the dice (with Yapta’s help) and wait in hopes that prices will further decrease. I’ve already inputted my preferred Thanksgiving flights...

During beta testing with 275 people, the average refund voucher was about $85. Not bad for a service that is so simple to use. For anyone that does even moderate air travel, it seems to me that it’s a “no brainer” to use Yapta…it’s free money.

It’s not too late to book that summer vacation!

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Readers' Comments on This Blog Entry

From Mike Straus on May 22nd, 2007
This was a great article because I'm always wondering if I got the best deal for my ariline tickets. In your experience do you get better airline fares going directly to the airlines website or by using a search engine similiar to orbitz?
From Donna on May 25th, 2007
I've already sent this to my corporate travel desk. Yapta would benefit from focusing it's offering to work with some of the major corporate travel agencies. Companies would be all over this.