A great tool to predict airline ticket prices: Bing!

by Efficient Traveler on April 25, 2011

I came across a great new tool in the battle against rising airfares. Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, has a great tool to find airfares like other travel sites, but offers someting more valuable: a price prediction! I’ve been frustrated by the airline’s incoherent, illogical, unexplainable, and ‘blackhat’ methods of setting prices. We’ve heard everything from the number of seats to the price of gas…how you pay twice as much for your seat as the guy next to you.

When I book a flight, I dont go only on price. As a frequent flier, the elite status is very important for The Efficient Traveler. I’m willing to pay a little more to fly on my ‘loyal’ carriers, but I absolutely hate paying more than I should (or have to). For example, if it costs $100 less for me to drive 60 miles to the airport, I’ll do it for the principle. I try to book my flights on Tuesdays, since I’ve heard that’s when the airline marketers put their sales on and lower ticket prices.

For example, I’m looking for a flight to San Francisco. It priced out at over $700 non-stop today (Monday) on United, which is necessary given the meetings I have scheduled. I had no intention of purchasing it today, and will wait to see what it costs tomorrow (Tuesday). I then went to Bing Travel http://www.bing.com/travel to see what they said. It has a tool that will tell you whether to buy now or wait based on their prediciton of the increases or decrease in cost:

The tool predicted I should wait and had an “80%” confidence interval, which I clicked on “Details”

So, Bing said with a whopping 91% confidence level that I should wait within the next 7 days “based on their track record for predictions”.

Is it worth it? I’ll let you know, but since I”m looking at booking a month out, I think it would be good to wait. My bet is that if you’re in a hurry (3 weeks or less out), you can wait with a high confidence level; but if you’re more than that, it’s probably worth the wait. Stay tuned…

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Barton April 28, 2011 at 9:04 am

That is such a cool tip. Good luck!

Efficient Traveler May 7, 2011 at 10:18 am

Well, the price stayed the same, even though they predicted it would fall and I booked on a tuesday. Guess it’s still a crapshoot to get good fares.

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