Planning your next trip?
Sounds fun, but wouldn’t it be even more fun if you could save a few $$ on your plane tickets?
Well, you actually might be able to do that – you just need to bypass online price discrimination and dynamic pricing with a VPN.
What Is Online Price Discrimination and Dynamic Pricing?
Online price discrimination is a type of price discrimination that airline companies and retailers normally use.
Basically, it’s a way of displaying different prices to website visitors based on what part of the world they are from – usually high prices for people from more developed countries, and lower prices from users from countries with a lower cost of living.
That’s not all.
Online price discrimination might also display different prices based on website visits. For instance, new website visitors might get lower pricing or better deals than recurring visitors.
As for dynamic pricing, it’s very popular with airline companies right now. It relies on heavy data mining which allows airline companies to create extremely accurate customer profiles based on how you interact with their websites.
The main idea behind dynamic pricing is to offer existing and new customers a better experience by creating personalized discounts and deals for them. However, airline companies can also use dynamic pricing to increase prices for certain users – like frequent flyers, for example.
Why Do Airline Companies Use Price Discrimination?
It hardly seems fair, right?
So what could drive airline companies to do something like this?
Profit, obviously, but why such a focus on it?
Well, it seems that – contrary to popular belief – airline companies aren’t exactly profitable. In fact, many non-profitable airlines continue to function simply because closing them down would be too much of a hassle – thousands of jobs lost, the company’s creditors would lose millions, and the fact that stakeholders likely can’t afford to allow the airline to close down.
What’s more, aircraft are extremely expensive, and so are the airport fees. And since the airline industry is well-known for its poor customer service, it’s not like it can start increasing its pricing and not expect a backlash.
So, it’s only natural airline companies would look for more “subtle” ways to increase their profits.
Of course, that doesn’t make it fair for you.
So, How Can a VPN Help You Save Money on Flights?
It’s pretty simple – a VPN is an online service that hides your real IP address. And airline websites use your IP address to see your geo-location, so a VPN effectively prevents them from doing that.
The idea is to connect to a VPN server from a different country – usually one with a lower cost of living.
For example, if you’re from the US, you could try using VPN servers in Poland, India, or Thailand to see if you can get any discounts on flights.
How Much Do You Get to Save, Though?
Well, let’s put it this way – there’s no exact amount you’re guaranteed to save with a VPN.
From my own research, I’ve seen people online bragging how they managed to save up to $1,000 and others who only got a $20 discount (which isn’t necessarily bad, but still).
I personally tried looking up a one-way flight from Chicago to Paris from United Airlines.
First, I used a VPN server from the US. An Economy class seat would have cost me around $3,600.
Next, I connected to a Romanian VPN server. The very same seat cost the same. However, a new deal popped up – an Economy (Flexible) seat for only $3,150.
So, all in all, I would have been able to save $450 with a VPN.
Just don’t have unrealistic expectations. You won’t be able to save money 100% of the time, but you might be lucky sometimes.
Using a VPN While Traveling Has Other Perks Too
If you want to go on vacation, using a VPN to get cheaper flights is definitely nice since it allows you to save your money for other, better activities and attractions.
However, that’s not the only thing a VPN can do for you when you’re on vacation. It can also offer you other benefits, like:
- Keeping your traffic and data safe by encrypting it, thus making sure cybercriminals can’t steal sensitive data from you when you use unsecured public WiFi.
- Making your traffic surveillance-proof. That really comes in handy if you want to download torrents using hotel WiFi, and not have to worry about getting kicked off the network because of that.
- Giving you unrestricted access to Internet content. With a VPN, no geo-restrictions or government firewalls (like the Great Firewall of China) can prevent you from watching your favorite shows, no matter where you are in the world.
Protecting your privacy by encrypting your traffic, ensuring ISPs can’t spy on it to sell your browsing history to advertisers.
How to Pick the Right VPN
That’s a bit tricky since there’s a lot of info to go through when choosing a VPN, not to mention there are tens if not hundreds of options to go through.
Well, since reliable VPNs are getting harder to come by nowadays, I left you a link to follow to see a good overview of the best VPN services on the market.
Other Things You Can Do to Improve Your Odds
Just because you use a VPN doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get discounts. To improve your odds, you should also do other things:
- If you have a customer account, consider not using it. Either use no account, or a fresh new one.
- Delete all cookies from your device. Airlines can use them to keep track of you even if you use a VPN. One convenient way to do that is with the Cookie AutoDelete Extension.
- Use Virtual Machine software like VirtualBox or VMware Workstation Pro to emulate a fresh OS installation on your device, and buy tickets using it.
- Use your browser’s Incognito Mode.
It goes without saying you’ll get the best results if you combine all those tips.