Getting a good deal on airline tickets, even if you already paid too much
I don't really like buying plane tickets. Apart from all the cost, there are all the difficult questions that it raises: aisle or window, how many transfers should I take, can I sprint through the Atlanta airport in 15 minutes, and how long can I hang out in the Cincinnati airport before I go completely stir crazy.* The worst problem is the lingering belief that, no matter how cheap my tickets were, I still got taken for a ride.
If my tickets were $400, I'm convinced that I should have paid $250. If they're $250, I'm sure that somebody else paid just $200. While I've managed to get some really good deals over the years, every time I board a plane, I do so with the knowledge that the guy sitting next to me paid less.
Because of this, I was particularly excited about Yapta.com. Short for "Your Amazing Personal Travel Assistant," Yapta enables you to track specific flights on several different airlines. If the price of your fare drops, Yapta sends you an e-mail alerting you that this might be a good time to buy.
The best part is that Yapta also helps you take advantage of the "guaranteed airfare rule." Apparently, many carriers will give you a refund if your ticket price drops below the amount that you paid. Yapta will continue to track prices after you buy your ticket, ensuring that you get any refunds that you deserve.
If you've already bought your ticket, you can still use Yapta. Either e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their site to enter your confirmation number and ensure that you end up with the best price available.
*The answers to these questions are: "Duh, window!," "No more than one," "Absoutely not!" and "15 minutes; half an hour if the chili joint is open."
Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. Oddly, he isn't freaked out by the idea of dying in a fiery crash, but the thought of paying a few extra bucks makes him wake up screaming.