[UPDATE (x2) at the bottom of the post]
Travolution is off to California in November for the PhoCusWright conference.
So, browsing Kayak - and other sites, hasten to add - for a flight from London to LAX, and we find this little nugget of good fortune:
The search results shows an Air France return flight from LHR to LAX on the required dates. On the Air France website it is £862; on ebookers £384!!
Schurely schome mishtake?
Follow the link through to ebookers and - da-da - the same fare is still there:
We also carried out a search starting from the ebookers engine and same again:
Now for some this would be an incredible coup. And indeed it is. But it seems to be too good to be true.
We asked someone more familiar than us with booking engines, fare loads and the like to get an idea of why the fare is so incredibly cheap.
- Loading error (either automated or human).
- Revenue management system on the blink.
- Some commercial deal where ebookers/Orbitz wants to put a certain volume through just prior to a renegotiation with an airline - so will take anything.
- Some event happening in the UK at the same time (with lots of people coming from states) - hence extra flights have had to be put on - and now demand has to be created in the opposing direction (but that would have impacted all flights).
- Its what they intended.
If anyone has any further suggestions, please add via the comments section.
According to the ebookers' flight team, this discovery is in fact good fortune and the price is correct on the site. A message reads:
Ebookers should nearly always have cheaper fares than the airline's direct site (with the exception of BA where ebookers match).Which they would say, of course.
Anyway, it also appears that Expedia has gone all laissez faire with Air France and is also offering the same ticket for £374. Opodo also has it for £378.
It's a wonder the OTAs stay in business! We jest...
Kevin May, editor, Travolution
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