Last Updated: 8/28/23 | August 28th, 2023
Let’s talk about cheap flights. We all know airlines are out to screw us over — and no one wants to be the person who gets stuck paying the highest fare. That’s why we spend hours upon hours researching articles on airfare, trying to game the system like we’re attempting to outsmart a used car salesman.
I’ve written about finding a cheap flight before — and even my process for booking a flight — but today I want to talk about some persistent and inaccurate myths about booking a flight that have stuck around through simple inertia and lazy journalism.
There are a lot of articles out there that list “secret hacks” claiming to save you thousands. “If you book a flight on a Tuesday during a blood moon while standing on one leg, you’ll get the cheapest flight possible!”
Ok, that’s an exaggeration. But I read so many articles that are straight-up inaccurate and outdated that, today, I want to explain which “rules” are straight-up lies so you don’t follow them, save hours of time, and still end up with a cheap flight!
MYTH #1: You Should Search Incognito
Lots of websites tell you to use a browser’s “incognito mode” to avoid this. Turn cookies off, stop being tracked, and trick the system, right?
Except this is not true at all.
There’s no evidence that airlines behave that way. Numerous studies by booking companies have shown that there is no variance in pricing when you use incognito mode.
And, typically, when you abandon your cart, businesses discount prices to get you to complete your purchase not raise them higher.
According to Scott of Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights), one of the most popular bargain-flight websites,
“There’s no evidence that airlines are showing you a different price based on your cookies. We are mistaking airfare volatility for a Truman Show–esque interpretation that the airlines are out to raise fares on us. Airfare is constantly changing, often by the hour if not by the minute these days. When a flight you’re looking at goes up in price, there’s a temptation to think that…