With airline ticket prices jumping around just as much as gas prices these days, you never know when the best time to buy is. It is so frustrating to buy your tickets one day only to find the next day or week later they’ve dropped in price. Airfare can become one of the most costly aspects of any trip or vacation, not to mention the hassle of constantly checking for lower prices. The site, www.farecast.com is a great website that does a lot of the work for you and may even help you save some $$$ by telling you if they think the best time to buy is now, or if you should wait until later.
–How It Works–
To put it simply (although you can read the complicated version here), Farecast uses algorithms to make predictions based upon patterns. They will tell you how confident they are on their prediction. Of course it’s not ALWAYS going to be 100% on the money, but they claim a 75% accuracy rate which gives you pretty good odds. After you have searched for a particular fare, you will be shown a prediction of what the airfare will look like for the next 7 days. This gives you a good indication whether or not to buy now or wait. According to their blog, the percentage of the time that they are right continues to increase.
–Track Your Airfare Using RSS–
I, like so many have found how useful RSS feeds are. It makes sorting through information that is important to me so easy. I thought it was great that Farecast offers an RSS feed that will give you the ability to track airfares and predictions. You’re able to select your airport, a departure date, the length of the trip, the number of passengers, and up to 3 destinations which will then be created into a customized feed to make searching for the lowest fare simple and nearly effortless.
Farecast is in beta so there are a few limitations. Currently they are able to make predictions for 55 home airports like Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, etc. They have already had a great deal of success, and I can only imagine they will continue to grow and add additional home airports. Additionally, they’re only able to offer predictions for round trip airfare- again. They conveniently point out the limitations they think you may face using the product in beta which gives us an idea of what we can expect as far as improvements for the future.
Overall, Farecast helps you find the lowest price for many airlines (although not all) and from many departure cities. There are some kinks that need to be worked out, but that’s why it is still in beta. With airline prices changing in the blink of an eye, the RSS feed simplifies the process of trying to determine when to buy or when to wait it out. Hopefully they’ll be adding additional airports in the near future to accommodate more passengers. Unfortunately, I think I’ll be waiting a while for the Des Moines, Iowa airport where you could probably fit the entire airport into one parking garage at the Los Angeles airport :).