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Is there a way to find out how much it would have cost to buy a particular airplane ticket at some point in the past?

For example, how could I find out how much it would have cost to buy a one-way itinerary from airport A to airport B on October 1, 2011 for travel on November 1, 2011?

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    Remember that the price for the same seat on a future flight can and does change daily or even hourly depending on several factors. So there is not one fixed price on one day. Commented Jan 23, 2012 at 13:17
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    There could be challenges in showing such data, even in case it were available. As Kate demonstrates in her excellent answer in another question, prices fluctuate depending on when a ticket is booked and it isn't necessarily just an increase in price as it gets closer to flight date as sometimes bookings can fall into other fare classes. Commented Jan 23, 2012 at 13:17
  • I don't know if any airlines operate this policy, but at the Swedish railways, even people looking at particular tickets without buying anything will affect the price. If any airlines have the same policy, then there is no such thing as the price on 1 October 2011.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 15:01

3 Answers 3

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Since deregulation in 1978 US airlines have been free to charge whatever they want, and they almost universally responded with a plethora of extraordinarily complicated fare rules and an almost infinite number of fare options designed to maximize their revenue in a highly competitive marketplace. As a result literally every time you search for an airfare you get a different number.

Before 1978, US airfares were approved by regulators and published, both in the airline's own timetables and in consolidated publications like the Official Airline Guide (OAG).

It might be possible to research an old airfare by finding old timetables or copies of the OAG, which are sporatically available online. For example according to this old American Airlines timetable from February 10, 1930, the fare from Chicago to Peoria was $6.71.

The Bing flight search engine stores historical fare information which it will display for you when you search for a flight. After you search for a particular city pair you'll see a link marked "Details & fare history" which, sometimes, shows you some historical data for airfares on that route. When this is available, it will give you approximate information as to whether the current fare offered on that route is historically high or low.

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    Minor update: Bing seems to have shuttered Bing Travel, in 2015.
    – iokevins
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 1:56
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    It's back on now. No fare history, though. Commented Mar 3, 2022 at 23:27
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DOT has a database of hundreds of millions of records. You can extract data at http://dafangwu.com/traffic-data/db1bm-route or look at customized chart http://dafangwu.com/traffic-data/fare-distribution-chart

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  • The linked sites require a log-in. Please edit the answer such that non-members can enter the links as well. Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 17:27
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You can track prices of a flight using Google Flights by searching for the flight and then enabling "track prices".

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Then visit this page (logged in to your Google account): https://www.google.com/travel/flights/saves

If you have past flight tickets sent to your Gmail account, it will also show you price history of past flights.

Screenshot

Unfortunately, it doesn't show you the history of a flight price before the date that you first started tracking it or the first time that you took the flight.

Reference: https://thriftytraveler.com/news/google-flights-price-history/

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