It always happens… you wait for the best price on a plane ticket to maximize your savings, only to find that a few days later, the price drops even more. What can you do? Don’t most tickets say “non-refundable” when you’re reading the terms of sale at the final confirmation screen? What you might not have known is that quite a few airlines offer some form of credit if the price of your travel drops after purchase. The fine print varies per airline, but a Seattle startup is looking to exploit that policy and empower the user with the information. The company is called Yapta.
Yapta is an airline travel site whose main feature is to track airline ticket prices and provide alerts. You look for a specific itinerary by searching on the site (powered by Kayak), and set up alerts to let you know via email when that ticket falls within your budget. It’s very useful if you don’t want to spend more than a specific amount on a ticket, or if you’re just waiting for the best time to travel.
The other, quite unique service Yapta provides is the ability to tell you if your ticket is eligible for a refund because the price dropped after you bought it. A lot of airlines have a policy on refunding travel credit in the event that the ticket you purchased drops. It varies, but generally if the ticket drops below $150, you’re eligible. Yapta will monitor the ticket while you just watch your email account for notifications!
The site was launched in 2007, and they say there have been more than $300 million in savings. Travel is already expensive, you should be obligated to save as much as possible. Yapta helps us take a huge step in getting that lowest price.
Travel can be expensive, and last-minute travel is even worse! If you’ve ever had to do this, you know it can be a major pain in the pocketbook. I’m in Iowa with my family, and it was a last-minute trip. I had to change plans that were already in place to something completely different in order to come home to Iowa when I did on Friday.
It was costly, to say the least. But, I do have five tips that I jotted down to hopefully save you some money if you ever have to book a last-minute trip.
Search every website that you know of. Don’t just go to one site. That’s crazy. Costs will be different on every site. Even if they pull from the same data, you never know which will have the best cost.
Let them choose the times if you’re flexible. This is a big tip, because it can spell the difference between spending a thousand dollars, and spending three hundred.
Make more connecting flights if you need to. I prefer to fly direct. But if it means a savings a few hundred dollars… I’ll make connecting flights.
Call the airline’s hot line. They may have some kind of special last-minute rate for you. I know it’s possible to get discounts if you’ve had a death in the family, for instance. Ponzi and I were planning to travel elsewhere already. I called the airport, explained my situation. The airline was fantastic. They canceled our other tickets and refunded most of them. They also helped me get a lower rate on my tickets to Iowa, as it was an emergency situation. So call the airline. You may be happily surprised.
Check nearby airports, and possibly drive the remainder. I could have rented a car and driven it home, had a connecting flight cost a lot more. You can literally save hundreds of dollars this way.
All in all, any travel is expensive these days. Do your research, and try to be flexible when at all possible. This can mean the difference of several hundred dollars.
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