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Celebrity Air...continually changing prices


Bruin Steve
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Ten months from now, I'll be on back-to-back cruises in the Med on Infinity...We want to fly in several days early to Milan, leave a couple of days afterwards from Rome, flying out of LAX.

I am seeing flights on kayak for as low as $894-901 pp (There are some a little lower--but with ungodly layovers of poor timing).  But, largely, the biggest advantage to Celebrity Air right now is that you no longer have to pay in advance and get nonrefundable tickets--you can pay at the same time as final payment for the cruise.

 

So, I contacted Celebrity Air and was able to book my flights for $983 pp--overall, a reasonable airfare--and with flights that make sense time-wise--and on major airlines--Lufthansa there (stopping in Munich), Air Canada back (via Toronto).  Since they are changeable, I keep checking the Celebrity Air site...Just in case 1)  They drop to a lower price, 2)  I might get an earlier flight into Milan and 3)  Perhaps a return flight that's not routed through Canada--where we'd have to go through US Customs en route.  The current arrangements are acceptable, but it's just worthwhile watching for those slight improvements to schedule and price.

 

Anyway, the interesting thing is that when I booked this, I found it on the website first, then called directly...and the agent had trouble finding that $983 price.  He made several attempts and got a different price each time...finally finding THAT price (which I had found on the site).  And now, whenever I check, the pricing varies.  Not day to day, but, rather, minute by minute.  I can check the rates and get $997 one time, then, literally a minute later, find the same flights for $1,007...Then check right back again and it's $1,002, then $1,017...Wait a few minutes and it's $994...

Sometimes the flights are slightly different, most, though, are usually the same.  Why is it that I see this kind of variation?  Does the website use some sort of algorithm that generates odd prices?  There's usually only a few meaningless dollars difference from one moment to the next.  It is obviously NOT that there's a limited number of seats at a specific price and they've sold out--since we're talking minute to minute here and those rates go up AND down constantly...

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Welcome to dynamic pricing  🙂  I don't think I've ever checked minute-by-minute, but even one day to the next I see different prices.  I always check the airline sites, too, and find that their prices can change as well.

I actually had a problem with pricing flights via the Celebrity website in that they weren't being updated at all!  We booked a cruise based on the Flights by Celebrity quote, and then when I called book the tickets, the price was over $100 PP higher.  So now I check via the Azamara site.  We had two price drops before final payment, and were able to take advantage of them.  Still pricey tickets since it's Thanksgiving week, but better than our original booking!

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Since it is a small difference each time it could be the difference in the US/CDN $ rate for the Toronto-Air Canada  portion, as I think it changes with the daily exchange rate.

Edited by If only
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We needed one ways LAX-FCO in October. I had fluctuations from $1100 to $9500 for business in the same day. We were able to book for $1287. Since booking I am still seeing the wild swings. 

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4 hours ago, If only said:

Since it is a small difference each time it could be the difference in the US/CDN $ rate for the Toronto-Air Canada  portion, as I think it changes with the daily exchange rate.

It's not that...Those price swings are on ALL of the fares--even ones that are booked on United or Delta both ways...

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Over the years I have see substantial swings in pricing.   In talking to an agent he indicated it was caused by the airlines allocations of a certain number of seats for each booking code.   If there is only one seat remaining in a specific code and you are searching for 2 seats it will find the higher price.    During any day their may be numerous people searching or doing phantom bookings when this occurs the cheaper seat may go out of inventory for a certain amount of time.   Very similar to celebrity site for cruises when you do a mock booking the room goes out of inventory for 20 minutes and then comes back in when the hold ends.

 

Also most of the U.S. airlines now have  free cancellation within 24 hours of booking.   This could also affect the inventory of each fare code. 

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Hi BS,

 

What you are seeing are the airlines using computers to maximize revenue.

 

As noted, it is called "dynamic pricing".

 

Basically the computer scans all of the flights for a given time period; determining which are underbooked (price goes down), which are meeting expectations and which are overbooked (price goes up).

 

It is now very difficult to find a bargain.

 

Ira

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A couple of years ago, when looking for flights on the Celebrity site, I was using the "just looking" option vs booking.  When I finally got around to actually booking something, prices didn't match.  Imagine that!  Just repeating what I was told: the just browsing option accesses a static view of prices and the booking option accesses "live" prices for flights.  I can't independently confirm this, only relaying what I was told.

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I was trying to book a flight earlier in the week. I was seeing a price of $750 per person but when I put in my credit card info it kept kicking me out and wouldn’t let me book. When I called to have an agent book it directly they were quoting me $1700 per person! They were saying they are having issues with the site giving false prices - but if that’s the case why does it still fluctuate (Monday it said $750 now it says $789). Also they said that they have been made aware of the issue and are fixing it but it’s been posting “wrong” prices for almost a week now. Something is fishy.

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Prices fluctuate with airlines. Sometimes multiple times a day. I just booked Celebrity Air for next May first class to FLL from Oklahoma City. This is about my fourth call for rates. The last 2-3 weeks, when I called, the rate with Celebrity Air was more than double what the airline site showed. Today, it was less. Go figure. Just keep checking. As far as the online "just checking flights", I was also told today that price will not necessarily match either the airline nor Celebrity Air's actual current reservation rate. That site is mainly for looking up flight availability. And that is where I found exactly what I wanted before I called to book as a "book now, pay later" option. 

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The pricing is done by software, not humans. Think of all the different avenues that tickets are sold and you can understand how they change in a second. I can't say for certain, but I believe that there are thousands of variables that effect the prices for each airline.

 

Then you can add in the rumor that they change pricing based on where you live and what device you are booking from. Richer area, using an Apple product, it is said you will pay more.


Tiz the world we live in. The more you know and effort you put in, the more opportunity you have to get a better fare. But there is no guarantee.

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23 hours ago, T^2 said:

A couple of years ago, when looking for flights on the Celebrity site, I was using the "just looking" option vs booking.  When I finally got around to actually booking something, prices didn't match.  Imagine that!  Just repeating what I was told: the just browsing option accesses a static view of prices and the booking option accesses "live" prices for flights.  I can't independently confirm this, only relaying what I was told.

 

I too have come across a price difference for the same flights on the browse vs. book Celebrity site.  It's frustrating when you think you have a flight at one price only to find out it's $100.00 more per person.

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