Scott’s Take: Why You Don’t Need to Clear Your Cookies Before Searching for Flights


Hi, I’m Scott, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights. You know, I created Scott’s Cheap Flights to help people save money on airfare, so nothing frustrates me more than when I see bad travel advice being doled out over and over again. Sometimes, this bad advice can cost you money, but in this case it’s only
costing you your time. I want to settle this
issue once and for all: It doesn’t make a difference if you clear your cookies before you search for flights. I’ve heard it said a thousand times, “Hey Scott, when you’re
searching for flights, you should really clear your cookies. You know, the airlines, they’re tracking your searches, if they see you go back and do the same search again, they’re gonna bump up the fares.” Look, if this was true, the first people who’d know about it would be our team of flight experts. Every day, they are running hundreds, thousands of searches. And so if the airlines
were bumping up the fares as a result of those repeat searches, they would be seeing it. The truth is, it’s not happening. Airline websites do typically
access your IP address, but they do that in order to provide location-related information. Think your language and your currency. They’re not adjusting the fares based on how often you’re searching. It doesn’t make a difference whether or not you clear your cookies in between searches. Let me show you. Let’s do a sample search
on Google Flights. Let’s search from Denver to London for October 6th to 13th. The lowest price is $441
roundtrip on Iceland Air. Now, let’s do that search 100 times. As you can see, even after 100 searches, the prices stayed the exact same. Let’s try it on an airline’s website, too. Let’s run a search on American Airlines for Seattle to Paris,
and looking at dates, maybe September 18th to 25th. The lowest price we found is $604. And after we run that search again, and again, and again, it’s still $604. Look, we ran dozens and dozens of searches on Google Flights and American Airlines, and the price did not
change a wooden nickel. If you do see higher prices the second or third time you run a search, there could be a number
of other factors at play. First, remember that prices
fluctuate all the time. It’s possible that the price just happened to increase in the few
minutes between your searches. Second, it might be that
the price was only good for a certain number of seats. On some OTAs, you might even see a message that says, “Only two
tickets left at this price.” Once those tickets are gone, the price jumps up to the next bracket. Third, it might be that
if you’re searching on an online travel agency, it’s possible that the first price you saw had actually already expired, but the OTA hadn’t updated its prices yet. See, OTAs act like middlemen between consumers and airlines. Sometimes, when an
airline updates its fares, it can take a few extra
minutes for those fares to be reflected on the OTA. So when you ran that second search, it just so happened that
the new, higher price was actually the updated, correct price. So while airlines and
OTAs are tracking things like your location, they
aren’t using cookies to increase the prices on flights that they know you’re interested in. When a price increases the
second time you search, it’s coincidence, or just
a lagging price update. It’s not an intentional move to get more money from you. So while there’s no harm
in clearing your cookies or searching for a flight in your browser’s incognito mode, it’s not gonna make any difference. Clearing your cookies will not help you get a better flight price. For more tips, check out our other videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and click the links under this video. And if you wanna save big on airfare, join Scott’s Cheap Flights. You know, since 2015,
we’ve sent our members thousands of amazing flight deals and Mistake Fares up to 90% off. Our members save an
average of $550 per ticket. So click the link under the video, sign up, and get cheap flights delivered right to your inbox. Thanks for watching. Safe travels, everybody!


2 Responses

  1. Fidelity Quester

    November 25, 2019 5:09 pm

    Excellent commentary, thank you.
    I did get the feeling ticketing pricing was increasing overtime, however that time period was over days, weeks and months even. But it’s like you said, price fluctuates. Thanks for your help in this matter. 😛


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