Travel sites use cookies to target individual customers for dynamic pricing?

Microsoft / Eng u7huyt54
May 4 11 Comments

I have noticed that sites like Expedia, google flights, kayak dynamically increase fares often within the day - just because I have looked several times at the fare for THAT specific route on a specific day.

Switching to my office laptop shows the earlier cheaper fare and/or checking the itinerary a day later apparently resets the cookie.

Is this even legal? Or was just coincidence or this is common practice that the legal eyes have already pondered over and concluded there is nothing that can be done.


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TOP 11 Comments
  • Expedia Hmmmm!
    As far as I know we don’t do anything like that.
    May 4 3
    • Microsoft / Eng u7huyt54
      My reaction would be your username.
      May 4
    • Commvault / IT farPtr
      My reaction would be..Haan bos-d-k.😀
      May 5
    • Expedia dontknw
      We always do this. Most of our models are built on cookies unfortunately.
      May 25
  • Microsoft


    It's a thing. Always browse incognito
    May 5 0
  • Microsoft


    No. Flight pricing globally uses old technology that doesn’t support this. The fares you see on one site are the same that everyone else sees.

    At least one airline (Southwest, if I remember correctly) wants to develop technology that could do this but it’s not there yet
    May 5 0
  • Expedia ulitka
    That’s not a thing, air supply systems from airlines have some rudimentary triggers that may adjust the price based on the number of seats sold , but they’re crude.
    What you’re seeing is likely related to caches , bet if you try to buy the lower price, even on the airline’s site, it will change the price on the checkout page.
    May 5 0
  • Tableau / Eng

    Tableau Eng

    I've heard it many times, but I could never repro it
    May 5 1
    • Microsoft / Eng u7huyt54
      I could do it a couple of times. To put it correctly I stumbled on it.
      May 5
  • Salesforce


    Expedia Group
    In reality, this happens as described on hotel prices as OTA have their own rates and pricing systems. Flights have centralized, really old GDS systems that determines pricing for all airlines and OTA. Like mentioned by user above, caching may vary and after you performed enough searches you may have fetched latest price tied to your cookie session. Unfortunately most OTAs do not use this to refresh their cache which can be behind somewhere in the range of one hour to 48 hours. So that would explain the difference. And all of this only applies if you buy flights alone and depends on GDS features enabled for an OTA, so ultimately depends on if your ticketing comes from Sabre Amadeus or TravelPort.
    Jun 29 0
    Either a cache or a/b testing and at the checkout the price would be equal. It's all about the volume, winner takes all.
    May 24 0