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I'm hoping I can pose this question in such a way that it will be objective enough to be answerable.

When I'm preparing for a trip, I generally start watching air fare prices well in advance, and check multiple search engines. I also try to construct my own creative itineraries, using one-way flights, hidden-city-ticketing, two sets of one-way flights which link up in a common city, etc.

The one trick I've never tried (and probably won't) is fuel dumping (as mentioned in another post of mine.

Some online blog posts suggest that Flight Fox will basically do the same thing I do. I don't want to pay $49 to be told I already found the cheapest price.

The one time I did use Flight Fox, I was given a cheaper price than I could find on my own, but it was the result of fuel dumping, and I'm not excited about paying someone to help me do fuel-dumping, as I'm undecided about the ethics of this practice.

Assuming I'm only interested in taking ethical flights, and I do my own leg work before hand, will Flight Fox likely benefit me?

  • I changed your title to, IMHO, be less subjective. Hope that's ok. – Mark Mayo Apr 5 '14 at 3:56
  • I think the real value of flightfox is helping you finding cheap fares when you have somewhat weird and unusual requirements. – Geeo Apr 5 '14 at 9:52
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    Also, if you are looking for Darjeelin travel coaching, you can specify what you want and don't want in your trip, and the experts have to fulfill that request, as long as it is not completely unreasonable, or else you can usually get a refund. I for one have been a travel coach at Darjeelin since they launched the program, and I have very rarely used fuel dumping as a technique, for the same reason as you, ethics. – erzr2 Apr 5 '14 at 15:18
  • Does FlightFox really book an unwanted leg of travel for you without telling you? – DJClayworth Apr 6 '14 at 3:19
  • @DJClayworth: They don't book anything without telling you... they show you the option, then let you book it yourself. But the one time I used it, they utilized fuel dumping, so yes, they added another leg to the trip. – Flimzy Apr 6 '14 at 3:20
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It'll depend where you're flying, what type of flight (multi-leg etc), how busy the season is, and how far ahead of time you're booking. The tighter the time frame or higher the demand, the harder it is.

Of course, the Flightfox hackers until a few months ago were all experts/hobbyists/searchers and you could get a dozen people all trying to beat your price. I liked that, there was a good chance you'd succeed. And back then, if they couldn't beat your price, you got your money back. Annoying sometimes as a flightfox hacker when customers would suddenly come out with a price (as though they'd been hiding it until then) but such was life.

Then recently Flightfox changed their model, now charging for a dedicated 'travel agent' of sorts to check out your flight and help you book. I'm unsure about the new model, as 1) many of us experts have been grounded for now and 2) I've not tried it yet. However some feedback I've seen online has been positive.

However, the past few weeks I've been checking out Darjeelin Expert - a similar site, with price checks - just to confirm you have got the best price. That may be more in line with your preferences, possibly. On both of them you can specify no fuel dumping in your criteria, so it's always possible to avoid those, but that does reduce the hacks that are possible.

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