frustratedHave you ever found a great deal on a flight, only to see the price increase when trying to book more than one ticket? One member recently found that a particular flight from Darwin to Sydney was on sale for $299. But when they searched for two tickets on the same flight, the price increased dramatically to $419 each!

Airlines control the supply of airfares at each price point by designating a certain number of seats to each fare class. Once all tickets allocated to a particular fare class have been sold, the airline will start selling tickets at the higher price.

In our member’s case, the most likely explanation is that only one ticket was still available in the cheaper fare class. With that in mind, they wanted to know whether it would be possible to take advantage of the lower fare, even though they would be travelling as a party of two on the same flight.

I understand that it won’t let me book two passengers on one ticket in different booking classes but how best handle this without spending an extra $119? Book one ticket at the lower price and then the second one at whatever price comes up, I am assuming it would be $419 as I can select 10 seats at that price? Downside is I will end up with two different PNRs which is less than ideal for upgrades or in case of flight changes. Any ideas?

One member suggests booking the last remaining ticket at the lower price, and then purchasing the second ticket at the higher price. That way our member can at least get one of the tickets for $299. This would unfortunately mean that the tickets were on separate PNRs. While an inconvenience, it is possible to “link” the bookings by calling the airline, ensuring that the passengers are seated together.

Another member recommends booking two tickets on separate computers simultaneously. While this doesn’t resolve the issue of separate tickets, it should mean that our member can score both tickets at the lower price of $299. This assumes that the fare price is not updated in the airlines’ system during the short time between the first and second ticket purchases.

I had the same issue once with needing 4 tickets and only two were available, i used two laptops and booked them simultaneously. not sure if i indeed needed to go to that extreme but it worked.

While this wouldn’t help if there was genuinely only one ticket left, one member suggests that internet cookies could also be to blame for an unexpected fare increase. In this case, deleting the cookies or using a different browser could resolve the pricing discrepancy.

If the cheaper fares are actually gone then yes. However there is the sneaky issue of Internet cookies. The airline tracks your movements through website. Often when you go through a process of buying a fare then cancel before the payment stage and when you come back later the cheap fare has gone. But the fare is still there. So deleting browsing history and cookies is one way to ensure you don’t get scammed.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]