What If You Could See Airline Pricing Algorithms?

from the actually-a-watched-pot-does-boil dept

Even with a variety of price comparison tools at our fingertips, shopping for plane tickets is still a black art. Prices change depending on ticket availability, route popularity, and a cadre of other unseen factors. A new site, Farecast, attempts to help would-be travelers decide when the best time to buy a plane ticket by forecasting future ticket price changes. Price transparency is good for the consumer, and the mere fact that a site like this even gets any buzz is symptomatic of the frustration that consumers feel for the whole ticket buying process. If Farecast is able to accurately predict this market and increase price transparency, consumers will win out by getting some valuable insight on a very confusing process. Then again, if too successful, at which point do these forecasts start actually influencing the prices themselves?


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Comments on “What If You Could See Airline Pricing Algorithms?”

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29 Comments
Vickrey says:

Arbitrage

Simple Econ 101 guys. The airlines have figured out better ways to price discriminate — to try to extract as much revenue as possible from each type of consumer with things like Saturday night stayovers and other devices to charge a different price to each consumer market segment. This fills up planes, and in that sense is efficient, but it typically means the average consumer pays more (while some people on the lower end get to pay less in exchange for awkward flight times and cramped seats).

Yes, these people are a new intermediary, but an intermediary aiming to make money by disrupting the airlines’ game. This is most likely good for this intermediary and good for the consumer (they’ll split the consumer surplus that they are able to take back from the airlines).

Anonymous Coward says:

It is true…airline flights are not free giveaways donated by the goodness of of rich people.

It is actually part of a (sometimes odd) business model. Yup, believe it or not these airlines actually expect to make money carrying people around in airplanes…sounds weird doesn’t it.

“Airline tickets cost 40% less than they did 25 years ago.”

And not only are you paying for the higher cost of fuel…you are even paying for labor, and the material required to operate aircraft…heck you are even paying for the aircraft themselves.

I know…in a perfect world fuel would be eco-friendly and free…and people would work for free…but that just isn’t the case.

blahblahblah says:

What If You Could See Airline Pricing Algorithms?

The link I clicked on said “What If You Could See Airline Pricing Algorithms?”, and I ended up here instead.

Yes, everyone, it’s another story of the the American Dream in progress. Find the niche, take advantage of it for as long as humanly possible, then sell it for loads of money to some “college only” educated scruff right before it’s not worth anything.

Still looking for the ALGORITHMS…

blahblahblah says:

What If You Could See Airline Pricing Algorithms?

The link I clicked on said “What If You Could See Airline Pricing Algorithms?”, and I ended up here instead.

Yes, everyone, it’s another story of the the American Dream in progress. Find the niche, take advantage of it for as long as humanly possible, then sell it for loads of money to some “college only” educated scruff right before it’s not worth anything.

Still looking for the ALGORITHMS…

Notsofast says:

farecast

Seems to me like some of the comments here are a bit quick to judge:

1. How is farecast an intermediary? they are just giving us information!

2. if the airlines change their prices or change their algorithms, won’t farecast just change their predictions. If you click on “look under the hood” you see they are using their own algorithms that adapt to change!

William James says:

Low Airfares

Anonymous Coward, you’re quite right. Everyone wants something for nothing in our society, like the government needs to step in to ensure everything is affordable. God forbid that some industry can make a profit. Flying is still, very affordable in our society.

Have you people seen how many airlines have gone out of business in the past three decades, or do you have amnesia??? The fact that a broader audience flies today is indicated by what Anonymous Coward stated earilier….a sketchy bunch of people is right. It does look more like a Greyhond Bus crowd than ever before.

What torques me off more than anything, is finding out how people break the code in getting the bulkhead seats or exit rows everytime I try to get them from the counter. I’m six feet five and can use the leg room. Usually I find some freakin’ Vietnamese family spread out across the whole row. Or some lardass ladies taking it over. Get a clue people, the extra space in “FRONT TO BACK”….it’s called knee room, having a big fuckin’ ASS will be crowded no matter where you park that trunk. There…damn, it’s feels better to get that one off my chest. Cheers.

Bill

Anonymous Coward says:

crybabies

My heart just bleeds for the six-five fella whining about his knee room.

Life handed you a freebie, buddy. Six-five means you got all kind of advantages, from babes, to pay raises, to not getting pushed around by the six-two guys. The least thing you can do is suck it up and not cry about the one time your god-given fortune actually causes you a touch of discomfort.

Paul says:

what's wrong with meta search sites?

“but I am fearful that beyond the relatively small amount of whiz-bang buzz their “hook” adds, they are really just another meta-search site.”

Are you saying there’s already a plethora of meta-search sites for airfare. I can see that, but I’m not aware of any others that try to predict prices.

I’m hoping to score some Red Sox/Yankes tix for late August, and have had no luck with finding a meta-search site. I’d rather not have to visit each of some twenty-some broker sites in my search. Anyone know of one?

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