We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

How often do airlines update their fares online?

Santa Barbara...
Level Contributor
127 posts
1 review
Save Topic
How often do airlines update their fares online?

I'm tracking airfares to London for the summer and checking daily to see if the prices drop at all before I bite the bullet and buy.

Does it make any sense to check more than once a day, or am I just being obsessive? The trip isn't "on" until I have those tickets in hand!

Thanks for any input anyone might have.

Detroit, MI
Destination Expert
for Detroit, Travel Gadgets and Gear
Level Contributor
6,965 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: How often do airlines update their fares online?

Short answer: fares vary constantly, including minute by minute.

Long answer:

Fares can be updated multiple times per day. IIRC (per farecompare.com probably), fare information gets loaded three times a day. That said, even if they don't change fares, availability will fluctuate constantly. Each flight has a dozen or more "buckets" where the price is different, but so are the contract conditions (advance purchase time, min/max stay, change ability, cancel ability, fees, etc.). If someone buys the last two seats in the "K" bucket, you will then see the higher priced "T" fare. If seats are not selling, they may decided to move more seats into the K bucket, so it looks like they reduced price, but are really selling the same seat with additional restrictions at a lower price. Each airline assigns different letters to different buckets, so it is somewhat confusing.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
56,860 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: How often do airlines update their fares online?

I've seen fares for short haul routings change two or three times in the course of a day; long haul fares aren't usually as fluid.

Summer travel is very likely going to be pricey. I waited and waited last year for any reduction in fares (outbound mid June and returned in early July) and finally booked when it was evident that the airline wasn't going to budge - and availability for the class of service I wanted was disappearing so it was a matter of book or certainly pay more.

I just had a look at what I paid to fly to LHR last year; if I booked now for similar travel dates in June I'd pay less today than I did (booking about eight weeks in advance of travel) in 2010.

If you can afford it then book now and don't look back. You can always enjoy (or at least I do) 'visiting' your booking at the airline's Manage My Booking function to keep you in the mood between now and summer.

Santa Barbara...
Level Contributor
127 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: How often do airlines update their fares online?

Thanks for both of your replies. There are a few somewhat reasonable flights available that require a stop or two but I'm hoping for a nonstop from LAX to London -- the nonstop flights are priced pretty steeply right now. I can't imagine them going any higher but that's my dilemma, of course.

TravellerPlus, would you know how customs works if I were to fly with a stop in Canada coming and going? Would I have to allow time to go through customs there, or would that happen at my final U.S. destination?

And yes, absolutely I enjoy "visiting" my booking once I've made it. The anticipation is half the fun of the trip!

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
9,375 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: How often do airlines update their fares online?

I can't imagine them going any higher but that's my dilemma, of course.

_________________

Don't be so sure. Full fare Y class tickets are probably close to $3000 per person on this route.

Philadelphia...
Level Contributor
730 posts
316 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: How often do airlines update their fares online?

Have you signed up at one of the fare trackers, such as kayak.com ?

Santa Barbara...
Level Contributor
127 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: How often do airlines update their fares online?

Yes, I do get a daily update from kayak.com. Do they update daily or more often?

Hanoi, Vietnam
Level Contributor
14,365 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: How often do airlines update their fares online?

Look for promotions such as new airlines or new routes - be flexible with airports at both ends. One new one from LAX is the Turkish Air flight nonstop to Istanbul - starts in early March. LAX-LHR is very high demand - chances of a good price in summer is therefore very slim.

BA has a sale underway right now, but you'll have to check their dates and restrictions.

Edited: 04 January 2011, 03:49
Juneau, Alaska
Level Contributor
366 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: How often do airlines update their fares online?

It depends on the airline. When flying to/from the US, airlines are required to file fares thru ATPCO, which is a private company that manages & releases fares. Right now the plan is to upgrade from 3-6 batches a day to hourly batches.

some airlines that have dynamic systems are able to change pricing with the click of a key. This includes airlines like OpenSkies, RyanAir, AirTran, Mokulele, Virgin America, Allegiant, etc. Airlines like United, American, Delta, and USAirways have to wait for a "batch" to be released from ATPCO to update a fare. this is why you'll see erroneous fares of like $1 or $100 (when it should be $100 or $1000, respectively) for sale for a few hours before it goes away. This is the difference between a "legacy" airline and a "low cost" carrier.

I'll be glad to answer any further questions about revenue management/pricing as I've handled them for a few airlines before getting out of the business. Feel free to Private Message me! ;)

9. Re: How often do airlines update their fares online?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 05 July 2011, 07:31