Dynamic Pricing--Time of day

Old Mar 14, 23, 6:07 pm
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Dynamic Pricing--Time of day

Have been booking a TATL trip for late April....during the day the Polaris fares hover in the $2500 range, EWR-LHR...but at 7 p.m each night for the past two nights (and last week), they go up by $800. I totally understand how prices fluctuate these days, but this seems very odd...and the plane seem pretty empty up front.
Englighten me!
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Old Mar 14, 23, 6:23 pm
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Originally Posted by boss315
Have been booking a TATL trip for late April....during the day the Polaris fares hover in the $2500 range, EWR-LHR...but at 7 p.m each night for the past two nights (and last week), they go up by $800. I totally understand how prices fluctuate these days, but this seems very odd...and the plane seem pretty empty up front.
Englighten me!
TOo many factors go into airline pricing...

Eg, 7pm night flight allows someone to work most of NYC day, and then arrive London to work the next day (plus skipping a hotel night).

If you want to know why the pricing is different under the covers, it could be a combination of different fare buckets available (the cheap bucket available for daytime but not nighttime) or fare rules (XYZ fare rules valid only for UA123 daytime flight). Both available if you use United expert mode
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Old Mar 14, 23, 6:31 pm
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Originally Posted by paperwastage
TOo many factors go into airline pricing...

Eg, 7pm night flight allows someone to work most of NYC day, and then arrive London to work the next day (plus skipping a hotel night).

If you want to know why the pricing is different under the covers, it could be a combination of different fare buckets available (the cheap bucket available for daytime but not nighttime) or fare rules (XYZ fare rules valid only for UA123 daytime flight). Both available if you use United expert mode
I think 7pm the OP has referred to is the fare pricing time, not the flight time.

Agreed, however, on the rationale, the dynamic in fares is governed by fare rules and availability of cheapest fare at the time of fare quote.
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Old Mar 14, 23, 6:46 pm
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It is probably due to the fact United figured out that more leisure passengers will do their search for air tickets during off-work hours, thus UA will intentionally increase the price for the same ticket when searched during off-work hours as well as over the weekend? For example, for the same ticket in a future date, you might have a better chance for lower price if you do the search and purchase the ticket on Tuesday or Wednesday (the travel date does not necessarily need to be Tuesday or Wednesday), rather than do the same on other days of the week, especially over the weekend?
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Old Mar 14, 23, 8:02 pm
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Originally Posted by UA vs NW
It is probably due to the fact United figured out that more leisure passengers will do their search for air tickets during off-work hours, thus UA will intentionally increase the price for the same ticket when searched during off-work hours as well as over the weekend?
I assure you, it’s not. OP is seeing what is most likely random fluctuation. Why on earth would UA choose to give its best prices to price-inelastic business travelers?

The internet has been abound with this type of advice for years — and fares keep going up. To the extent that any of these patterns are real — as soon as the pattern becomes public, the airline will go and change it. UA changes prices thousands, if not millions, of times per day. There is no single best time to buy airfare, and there probably hasn’t been in at least 20 years. The best strategy is to learn the market and strike when the price seems reasonable (and, with no change fees, you can keep checking afterwards to see if the fare has dropped, and capture the difference as a future flight credit).

OP: You’re probably running into some daily inventory adjustment. Maybe somebody was trying to set a job for midnight GMT and messed it up. In general, patterns are mostly in the eyes of the observer.
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Old Mar 14, 23, 8:15 pm
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It is rare for a specific inventory fare price to change, let alone for a few hours and then return.

Inventory can change and if a fare class sells out then the fare may change. UA may replenish the inventory, but only the inventory has been purchased.

Watch the inventory class and all will become clear.

While it may be a nice trick to change prices with time of day, the US is more then 3 time zones and people are purchasing from multiple timezones. Airlines don't have the ability to be tricky with prices just for you.
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Old Mar 14, 23, 8:30 pm
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I always use Google Flights to track pricing because Ive noticed on (at least) the Delta app that the more you search for a flight the more likely the price goes up. I might be paranoid, but I still suspect that the airlines boost the price the more you look at it. Weve all gotten emails from American Airlines saying are you still looking at that trip to Miami? or a note on the United app saying hey, you should complete your purchase to IAD that you looked at three weeks ago. So we know they track our searches.

Several times I have clicked through Google flights to the airline website and found a price and trip combo that I couldnt get by searching the website by itself. So, if Im going to track flight prices, Im going to do it on Google Flights.
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Last edited by bitterproffit; Mar 14, 23 at 8:31 pm Reason: Grammar
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Old Mar 14, 23, 8:44 pm
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Originally Posted by bitterproffit
... I might be paranoid, but I still suspect that the airlines boost the price the more you look at it......
How would they do that for just you and not change the price for everyone? Fares are published in GDS. Again, make comparisons based on fare class and fare class inventories to better understand what really is happening. Inventories are very dynamic, a particular fare class price is not (or wasn't until continuous pricing was implements, very recently -- but you and I will get the same price if searching at the same time).

As far as Google Flights finding cheaper prices, that is very true connecting itins because it does deeper searches. The airlines limit to fewer search tries. One trick is to search just oneways as the same number of searches are done for one-ways as roundtrips. (true for awards also)
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 14, 23 at 9:17 pm
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Old Mar 14, 23, 8:49 pm
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It is likely just changing fare bucket availability on flights. What are the fare classes involved each time you search? There are $2767 roundtrip fares are 14 day advance purchase Saturday night stay PNA46SNC P fares. If there is no longer P bucket availability on a flight in one direction or other because they zeroed it out for whatever reason, you are most likely seeing a PNA46SNC P fare in one direction and a ZNW83ERC Z fare in the other (assuming there is still Z bucket open) which prices out at around $3642 roundtrip. The only $2500 fares I see look to be partner fares. It's "dynamic" in the sense that fare bucket availability can change at any time on flights, but they don't actually load new fare filings that frequently.

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Last edited by xliioper; Mar 14, 23 at 9:03 pm
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Old Mar 14, 23, 9:22 pm
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Originally Posted by bitterproffit
I always use Google Flights to track pricing because Ive noticed on (at least) the Delta app that the more you search for a flight the more likely the price goes up. I might be paranoid, but I still suspect that the airlines boost the price the more you look at it. Weve all gotten emails from American Airlines saying are you still looking at that trip to Miami? or a note on the United app saying hey, you should complete your purchase to IAD that you looked at three weeks ago. So we know they track our searches.

Several times I have clicked through Google flights to the airline website and found a price and trip combo that I couldnt get by searching the website by itself. So, if Im going to track flight prices, Im going to do it on Google Flights.
Track your searches yes, but use that to change the price of the flight there and then, no. What happens when you search a fare is a temporary booking is held depending on how far into the booking flow you get. Some are only a matter of 15min, others (like QF) are up to 2359 the following day. Each search you make 'holds' a seat - if there was only one seat in the bucket and you go back and look again before the original is released, the next available fare will show.
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Old Mar 14, 23, 9:24 pm
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Originally Posted by bitterproffit
I always use Google Flights to track pricing because Ive noticed on (at least) the Delta app that the more you search for a flight the more likely the price goes up. I might be paranoid, but I still suspect that the airlines boost the price the more you look at it. Weve all gotten emails from American Airlines saying are you still looking at that trip to Miami? or a note on the United app saying hey, you should complete your purchase to IAD that you looked at three weeks ago. So we know they track our searches.

Several times I have clicked through Google flights to the airline website and found a price and trip combo that I couldnt get by searching the website by itself. So, if Im going to track flight prices, Im going to do it on Google Flights.
There are always people doing the same search as you
​​​​​​
One reason for the fare change (e.g. increase) is likely decreased inventory. Closer to departure, it might be due to advance purchase expiration, which removes certain discounted fares even when inventory still exists.

You doing the same search 100 times without purchasing the fare has no bearing on the price, all other things remain constant.
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Old Mar 14, 23, 10:06 pm
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Finding Google flights will show lower price but on the direct site, same flight prices has increased. Not sure if Google flights are slow in updating.
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Old Mar 15, 23, 9:13 am
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Originally Posted by LiqAlchemy
Finding Google flights will show lower price but on the direct site, same flight prices has increased. Not sure if Google flights are slow in updating.
There definitely have been cases where fares/availability have been updated, but where Google Flights is still showing old fare information (likely due to caching). This is particularly true with mistake fares where the airlines pull them rapidly, but there is a lag in getting it out to GDS systems. It also seems to be true with short-lived fare sales where you can still see dates with fare sale pricing showing on Google Flights, but when you go to actual booking sites, the fares are clearly no longer there. Although if you are regularly seeing changing at same time everyday, that's not what is likely going on here.
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Old Mar 15, 23, 11:16 am
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Whenever this topic comes up, the combined answers always sounds like Umberto Eco on fascism. "Then enemy is at the same time too strong and too weak."

"The airlines are at the same time highly intelligent (they use sophisticated pricing models! there's a reason behind every price you see!) and extremely stupid (tracking user searches is way too complicated! any price changes are just a coincidence!)."
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Old Mar 15, 23, 11:49 am
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Originally Posted by _fx
"The airlines are at the same time highly intelligent (they use sophisticated pricing models! there's a reason behind every price you see!) and extremely stupid (tracking user searches is way too complicated! any price changes are just a coincidence!)."
The pricing models are sophisticated. What they aren't is personalized. If you'd like to argue that airlines are going to raise the prices for everybody because one person happened to repeat a search, fine -- but keeping in mind how many users they'd have doing searches at the same time, you'd pretty much always have somebody doing a search.

There's no contradiction here.
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