Several websites have been discussing whether clearing your browser’s cookies might help you find better travel bargains. Is there any truth to it?
What kind of cookie am I talking about?
This cookie, unlike the one I’m eating here at a the Eveleigh Farmers Market in Sydney, is a small piece of code that is sent by the website you visit, and stored by your browser on your computer. Among other things, cookies identify you to a website on subsequent visits.
Could cookies be hurting your deals?
A post on Airfarewatchdog recently so theorizes. It further suggest the practice of clearing your cookies so that websites you go to for deals are unaware of your prior visits. Originally brought to their attention by a reader, the editor concurs with the practice. They conclude that when you return to look for the same deal on a subsequent visit, it may no longer be available. And that when you clear the cookies and appear to be a “new” visitor, the deals magically reappear.
My thoughts: It’s highly unlikely.
Obviously airfares vary, seemingly from moment to moment. And certainly the fact that you repeatedly look for airfares, say from Los Angeles to Honolulu, does have an substantive effect on future ticket pricing.
Here’s how that works. Feedback to the airlines from searches we do indicate likely interest in purchasing tickets between locations at any point in time. It’s all about supply and demand. That feeds into their pricing models such that higher demand (in relation to availability) essentially yields higher potential prices.
Personally I use three different browsers (Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer). I store no cookies in two of the three, and have never found any difference in availability with cookies or without. And I’m looking at airfare deals across multiple sites numerous times each day.
Still want to give it a try? Here’s what I suggest:
Don’t wreck the usefulness of your browser saving cookies for those sites you visit often. Try doing one of these two things instead.
1. Use a different browser. If you normally use Internet Explorer for example, on that return visit try using Firefox.
2. Surf anonymously using a proxy. On subsequent site visits when looking for a deal, simply enter the site you wish to visit at a free anonymous surfing proxy site, and the page you want will be presented to you. Here are a few such sites to try (although you can search and find an unlimited number of them): Anonymouse, Proxify, The Cloak.
Subscribe to our email updates.