Of course, airline "pricers" (humans or now computer) use every sale to decide and determine what the price for a flight is going to be on a given day, as the flight approaches.

I'm curious whether MERELY SEARCHING on a flight (whether on the airline.com or expedia/etc) is actually USED AS DATA in this process.

So for example, it might be that merely checking an obscure flight on expedia - but not securing it - means that wen you try later than afternoon the price goes up.

Example of this in a similar industry: depressingly regarding buying domain names, mere tickles actually trigger systems where bastard domain companies watch for certain patterns and buy them up so they can resell.

We have not worked on airline systems for some time so I have no clue. Does anyone happen to have an insider fact on this?

I know there are some people here who actually do the software for reseller systems, etc, so someone here may know. Cheers!

Please, I do not need advice on how to buy the cheapest fare, I'm just wondering specifically as it asks in the question if anyone has any inside technical info on the question at hand (or perhaps, some real world anecdote that would maybe suggest a "tickle" seem to trigger a price offer change).

Again to repeat the question, I'm curious whether MERELY SEARCHING on a flight is actually USED AS DATA in the pricing process.

  • 7
    There is a somewhat related question about whether repeatedly visiting the airline site will make the prices go up on Skeptics.SE and a similar question here on travel.SE, maybe that can be a lead to what you are looking for.
    – drat
    Nov 5, 2014 at 10:23
  • Hi drat, thanks for the links to the, say you say, somewhat related questions. Good one. (I hand't heard of the "Ryan Cookie Scandal!" :) And, I didn't really think about "catch you for coming back" sort of "scams" (so to speak). I was more wondering if they literally use searches, as part of the data on route demand. (Just as they, obviously, use actual sales as that demand data.) Cheers again...
    – Fattie
    Nov 5, 2014 at 10:56
  • Sorry, didn't enter to such depths in this business. All I can say - prices are changing constantly as the flight time approaching.
    – VMAtm
    Nov 5, 2014 at 16:29

1 Answer 1


To the extent that you are on a meta-search engine or other aggregator of information that is a third-party to the airlines (e.g. one step removed from the carrier itself) you should be okay. The systems generally pull from a GDS (global distribution system) on a read-only basis. Now, if you are searching for the fare on the carrier-owned system itself, then it would certainly be possible for them to implement a system such as the one you are talking about. That being said, carriers also know that basing system-wide travel pricing on a single user's search query can be inefficient, so even if such systems were implemented, you'd sooner see it variable pricing effective for an individual user vs. globally. That's why some sites recommend clearing your browser cache, shifting your IP address, etc. to get the best fare.

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