Your browsing history, using Apple products, country, can lead to pricier online booking

DOES SEARCHING FOR AIR TICKETS AND HOLIDAY TRIPS IN AN INCOGNITO WEB BROWSER PREVENT SELLERS & SEARCH ENGINES FROM INCREASING PRICES THAT YOU SEARCH FOR OFTEN? THE ANSWER IS, YES, AND NO. THERE IS MUCH MORE WHAT UNFAIR TRADE SELLERS ARE WATCHING, LIKE BIG BROTHER IN GEORGE ORWELL’S 1984.

Sometimes there is nothing you can do to avoid paying more than you’d like, but there are a few things you can try to keep from paying more than you should. To help you sidestep the most common errors that even sophisticated travelers make, here are some mistakes to avoid when booking a flight or holiday trip.

Most websites use cookies to identify you in various ways as you surf the Internet, most easily seen in “Welcome back, Phil”. These cookies have real and useful applications that benefit the user — an obvious one is to track items you put into a shopping cart without requiring a log-in — as well as real and useful applications for the website you visit, such as serving up targeted ads and knowing your general preferences.

But only when this technology is not misused by the seller.

DON’T FORGET TO CLEAR YOUR COOKIES.

Many travel experts have reported that airlines and booking engines are using cookies to show potentially higher airfares on routes that you have searched often. So if you are researching an upcoming trip from Chicago to Paris and have checked airfares on the route frequently in recent days or weeks, the site “knows” you really want these fares, and “guesses” that you might be willing to pay a bit more for them.

Make sure you delete all cookies before you enter any site again and book – otherwise the price will likely be higher. You have read so frequently about folks doing tests on their own over the past few years about the evidence that your browser history, search history, stored cookies, used device, or country of origin, can lead to higher airfares.

 

ONCE YOU ARE IDENTIFIED WITH IP ADDRESS, CLEARING YOUR COOKIES MUST NOT HELP.

Some even think the airlines are tracking IP addresses, which is your unique address on the Internet that allows computers to find you. Beating this trend would entail changing not only browsers, not only computers, but also your location.

Search from your phone, not connected to wifi, which has a different IP through your carrier. Then once you know which flight you want, buy from your laptop connected to your phone’s wifi. Or connect in internet cafe, or make some search in your work office. This is the only way to ensure that you don’t get price gouged. By searching for flights around a certain time over and over again, you have established your interested, this is used to hike up the price.

 

COUNTRY BASED PRICE DISCRIMINATION

Today the most impactful use of price discrimination is the country-based one. For this, anonymous browsing doesn’t help, what you can do is to change the country the website thinks you’re in – sometimes helps just changing the website shop from US/UK/EU when available, but more often, you have only one option – using a VPN service to change your IP to order from different country.

 

IF YOU OWN APPLE YOU ARE MORE LIKELY TO PAY MORE: MAC VS PC, IPHONE VS ANDROID

In fact, even the type of computer you use can affect what fares and options booking engines show you; Orbitz CEO Barney Harford admitted a few years back that the site began recommending different (usually pricier) hotels to Mac users than to PC users.  If you think that these practices have been stopped, you are wrong. They are just much more sophisticated.