Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Credit where credit is due

You've searched everywhere to get the lowest fare you could find. Now, you've bought your ticket, and the only thing left to do is take the trip. But did you really get the lowest fare? What if you bought the lowest ticket at the time, but then prices drop?

You might think you're stuck, especially on non-refundable fares. But that's not quite true: most airlines, including six of the seven legacy carriers and a whole bunch of their low-cost competitors, will give you the difference in fares if prices drop after you buy but before you travel. (They're not just doing it to be nice, either; protecting you against fare drops is one way that airlines encourage you to book early, which in turn helps them fill planes.)

Here's how it works:
  • Buy your ticket.
  • Check periodically to see if the price has dropped.
  • Send documentation to the airline and request credit.

At one point, most airlines would give you actual cash rebates for the fare difference. Today, most provide vouchers for use on future flights with them. But that's pretty good, don't you agree?

Of course, up until recently, the challenge was keeping track of ticket prices. After all, the low-fare protections only apply to the same type of ticket, so you need to know the fare basis and compare apples to apples. That's beyond the ability of some people and beyond the attention span of most others.

Enter Yapta.com, which does it for you. Register (for free), enter your airline ticketing information, and let Yapta search the fares for you. When it finds a price drop for the same fare basis, you'll be notified--and Yapta even helps you get the credit to which you're entitled.

It's free money. What are you waiting for?

1 comment:

Neutronic said...

There is another great site out there that you might not be aware of called Airfarewatchdog.com.

These guys search thousands of fares by hand every day to come up with the best possible deals. They cover all of the discount carriers as well as specials listed only on airline websites. Plus you can sign up for a daily newsletter which let's you know about the best fares from your city.

Worth checking out...