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  #1  
Old 30 April 2013, 08:08 PM
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Airplane Do cookies really raise airfares?

For years consumers have suspected that airline and travel agency websites use Internet cookies to their advantage and to the disadvantage of the customer. How? When airlines "sense" a shopper is about to book a ticket, they quote higher prices.

One proposed antidote would be to delete browser cookies - before, during and after shopping - to erase the crumb trail. That's a painful task for even the most Internet savvy. Before determining whether you need to do this, though, let me address this myth (and myth is what I strongly believe it to be):

http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel...fares/2121981/
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  #2  
Old 30 April 2013, 08:31 PM
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That's a painful task for even the most Internet savvy.
Really? I'm using Chrome v26 and all you have to do is press Ctrl-Shift-Del and then click "Clear browsing data".
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  #3  
Old 30 April 2013, 08:42 PM
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I suspect the biggest reason fares can often change if you search for flights one day and then book later is the "yield management" software airlines use. The goal, essentially, is to fill all the seats on a flight while still charging as much as possible for each ticket. So if the software senses that there seems to be really high demand for flight #123 it will raise the fares for that flight because it's a really popular one and presumably enough people will pay more to take it for whatever reason (perhaps more convenient times/routing or just a really popular destination). If flight #456 still has a lot of empty seats, it will lower the fare for that flight to try to fill them (perhaps by enticing the more price sensitive travelers to take a less convenient flight).
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Old 30 April 2013, 08:52 PM
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Airplane

I thought this was going to be about how the weight of the snacks (cookies, nuts, sodas, etc.) requires more jet fuel, and all the costs are passed on to the consumer.

And my answer would be "of course it does."
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Old 30 April 2013, 09:09 PM
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This is not tracked by cookies on the PC side -- it is on the server side, and its not based on when YOU will be purchasing per se, but more "how much interest is there in this current item now, how much was there earlier, and does this trend look like it will continue"

I know this because i used to be the product manager for software that DID this and is used by a lot of travel providers -- BPO and SOE Automation are all over the place making decisions and/or suggestions for crowd planning and keeping businesses full.
clearing your cookies may yeild small advantages, but over all -- just one small cog in a HUGE AI machine.
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  #6  
Old 30 April 2013, 09:17 PM
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Airplane

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tootsie Plunkette View Post
I thought this was going to be about how the weight of the snacks (cookies, nuts, sodas, etc.) requires more jet fuel, and all the costs are passed on to the consumer.

And my answer would be "of course it does."
And I thought it was going to be about the now defunct Midwest Airlines, which was known for having excellent customer service and for serving freshly baked cookies on every flight. I thought the article was going to claim that the cost of providing those cookies required them to raise airfares, and perhaps they should have eliminated the cookies instead (Not unlike the story about American Airlines eliminating an olive from every salad in first class).
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  #7  
Old 01 May 2013, 01:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tootsie Plunkette View Post
I thought this was going to be about how the weight of the snacks (cookies, nuts, sodas, etc.) requires more jet fuel, and all the costs are passed on to the consumer.

And my answer would be "of course it does."
Not as crazy as it sounds. Airlines do, at some point in their calculations, take the weight as well as the cost of all the food and sundries in to consideration. Pick up a packed with 3 cookies in it, and it doesn't weigh much. Now pick up 350 packets and you'll see the difference. Add in all the other stuff like cutlery and crockery, cans of drink, napkins, etc. It soon becomes an amount worthy of consideration.
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Old 01 May 2013, 01:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryM View Post
Really? I'm using Chrome v26 and all you have to do is press Ctrl-Shift-Del and then click "Clear browsing data".
For me what's "painful" (though that may be an overstatement) about clearing cookies isn't figuring out how to do it, it's that when I clear cookies then I have to re-log-in to everything that I like to stay logged in to (like this board).
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Old 01 May 2013, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
Not as crazy as it sounds. Airlines do, at some point in their calculations, take the weight as well as the cost of all the food and sundries in to consideration. Pick up a packed with 3 cookies in it, and it doesn't weigh much. Now pick up 350 packets and you'll see the difference. Add in all the other stuff like cutlery and crockery, cans of drink, napkins, etc. It soon becomes an amount worthy of consideration.
And I wouldn't be surprised if that was part of the reasoning behind the elimination of complimentary meals on domestic flights -- not just the cost of the food itself but the extra weight and thus fuel consumed by hauling that food around. And it's not just the food itself; by eliminating hot meals they can remove the ovens from the galleys, which I'm sure are quite heavy themselves.
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  #10  
Old 01 May 2013, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
And I wouldn't be surprised if that was part of the reasoning behind the elimination of complimentary meals on domestic flights -- not just the cost of the food itself but the extra weight and thus fuel consumed by hauling that food around. And it's not just the food itself; by eliminating hot meals they can remove the ovens from the galleys, which I'm sure are quite heavy themselves.
Exactly right.

Someone from one of the discount airlines told me that they couldn't serve "hot food" if they wanted to because they have no galleys. Using the space and weight for passengers results in a cost savings.

Thanks.

Bill
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  #11  
Old 01 May 2013, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
And I thought it was going to be about the now defunct Midwest Airlines, which was known for having excellent customer service and for serving freshly baked cookies on every flight. I thought the article was going to claim that the cost of providing those cookies required them to raise airfares, and perhaps they should have eliminated the cookies instead (Not unlike the story about American Airlines eliminating an olive from every salad in first class).
Maybe they could save some fuel by making the passengers eat the cookies before take off
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  #12  
Old 01 May 2013, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by erwins View Post
For me what's "painful" (though that may be an overstatement) about clearing cookies isn't figuring out how to do it, it's that when I clear cookies then I have to re-log-in to everything that I like to stay logged in to (like this board).
Actually, this is why Chrome has Incognito mode. It doesn't clear your cookies. It just doesn't use them in incognito mode
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  #13  
Old 01 May 2013, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill View Post
Someone from one of the discount airlines told me that they couldn't serve "hot food" if they wanted to because they have no galleys. Using the space and weight for passengers results in a cost savings.
Good point. There's only so much weight you can put on a plane, so carrying heavy ovens and lots of food in the galleys means you might have eliminate some weight elsewhere, either by carrying fewer passengers, less cargo, or less fuel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Jay View Post
Maybe they could save some fuel by making the passengers eat the cookies before take off
Maybe that was where they went wrong. They kept feeding their passengers cookies, producing heavier passengers!
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  #14  
Old 01 May 2013, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
For me what's "painful" (though that may be an overstatement) about clearing cookies isn't figuring out how to do it, it's that when I clear cookies then I have to re-log-in to everything that I like to stay logged in to (like this board).
With Chrome, you can just open a new incognito window (Ctrl-Shift-N on most. Cmd-Shift-N on a Mac). It gives you a new clean window, and leaves your current window and cookies alone.
With Firefox, private browsing does a similar thing (Ctrl-Shift-P on most. Cmd-Shift-P on a Mac). This is slightly different in that it closes your previous window, but once you leave private browsing, your earlier cookies will be back to normal.
I imagine there's something similar on newer IEs, but I never use that.

ETA: Actually, with the latest Firefox version 20, the behaviour has changed to match that of Chrome. Opening a new window without closing your current one.

Last edited by stalker; 01 May 2013 at 06:37 PM.
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  #15  
Old 01 May 2013, 08:01 PM
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Good to know.
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  #16  
Old 07 May 2013, 06:51 PM
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Not all websites work with the private browsing turned on though. And like erwins, I wouldnt mind doing that after each use or using private browsing it it wasnt for the fact that EVERY website now requires log in or cookies turned on. Its really getting diridiculous now.
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