Clearing Your Search History Won't Get You a Cheaper Flight — Here's What to Do Instead
An expert debunks major airfare booking myths and reveals the best ways to find flight deals.
When it comes to travel advice, there are a lot of common misconceptions floating around the web. And Scott’s Cheap Flights is here to bust them all. “Airfare is incredibly volatile,” Scott Keyes, the founder and chief flight expert, tells Travel + Leisure. “It’s always yo-yoing around. And it doesn’t follow the same patterns as most other things we buy.”
Indeed, there’s a lot of bad travel advice out there, and yes, there are a few myths we’ve fallen for too. It’s OK, everyone wants to get the best deal possible, so why not try everything, right? But, to save you some time, Scott’s Cheap Flights has debunked three more booking myths so you can skip these and get onto the good stuff instead.
No, your search history doesn’t affect flight prices.
According to the flight search company, many people incorrectly assume that the airlines are manipulating prices based on a customer’s past flight searches. But “if this was true, the Flight Experts at Scott’s Cheap Flights would have a much harder time finding deals,” the company said in an email. “We run thousands of searches every day, day after day. If prices were rising based on those previous searches, we’d see it.”
Yes, the company adds that airlines and online travel agencies (OTA) usually access a person’s IP address, but the airline or OTA uses that information to provide accurate location-related details like language and currency — not to manipulate prices based on your activity.
If the price changes mid-search, it’s likely a coincidence.
If a person sees significant changes to airline ticket costs between searches, Scotts Cheap Flights says it’s likely a coincidence.
“If the price happens to change between searches, there could be a number of factors at play,” the company says. It notes that prices fluctuate all the time, and it’s possible that the price simply increased in the few minutes between searches. Then, the price could have increased due to demand. If a seat is sold, the price rises to the next bracket.
“While airline and OTA sites are tracking things like your location, they aren’t obsessively tracking your searches to sneakily increase the prices on flights they know you’re interested in,” the company says.
Sure, you can clear your cookies if it makes you feel better.
According to Scott’s Cheap Flights, there’s no harm in clearing your cookies or searching for a flight in your browser’s incognito mode, but know it won’t do anything for you. However, there are other things you can do to save. First, try searching in what they call the “Goldilocks window,” which sits 2-8 months ahead of international flights and 1-3 months for domestic. Next, try to remain flexible with dates and always try your best to avoid peak travel times. Of course, always be ready to click “buy” the second you see a deal that suits you. Check out Scott’s Cheap Flights for more way to save on air travel.