Why You Should Delete Your Cookies When Booking Travel

Every once in a while you see cases of why you really should delete your cookies or switch internet browsers when booking travel online. Last night, I was pricing out a ticket from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on February 27 on American Airlines’ website using Safari. I put the $159 round-trip ticket on hold since American Airlines let’s you do it for free for 24 hours.

Here’s where it gets interesting…  I went back again today to buy some more time but that same round-trip ticket jumped $189. See below.


I decided to see if the price would be different if I used another web browser (Internet Explorer) since there would be no history of me ever being on the site. Sure enough the price went back to the original.


As you can see, just by switching browsers I saved almost $200! But don’t worry if you don’t have multiple browsers, you can just clear your cookies on your computer. Here’s a link that explains how you can do it on your type of computer.


  1. Even clearing your cookies is sometimes not enough. There’s a few sites that profile you based on your browser and the expected demographic that puts you in. For example, Safari indicates a Mac computer, which usually indicates a more “well-off” traveler. IE on the other hand indicates Windows, which is typically a more budget traveler.

    The WSJ wrote it up a little while ago on hotels. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304458604577488822667325882.html

  2. Anytime you do searches at different times (like in your example above), even if its just a few minutes apart, you might get different results since airline ticket prices are so dynamic. Next time use two different computers and click search at the same time and tell us if you get different results where time the search was made is not a factor.

  3. from what i understand, it also makes a difference if you’re on a PC or a Mac! Allegedly, the psychology is that people with Macs are more willing to pay more than people on PCs…

  4. bilbo bobbins says:

    Not quite. The first search is for a roundtrip flight returning without a Saturday night stay. The second search is for a one-way flight. Different fares have different rules. Normally r/t rares are cheaper but it depends on what RM loads for that flight and date combo. You can easily visit expertflyer.com and download the full fare rules and pricing matrix. What you are suggesting is impossible within the constraints of the GDS.

  5. Yeah No says:

    From the screenshots, it looks like your first one is a round-trip search, while the second one is a one-way search, which explains the different prices.

    If you’re really paranoid, just search for the fares on itasoftware first, then go to the airline’s website and you’re done.

    • Johnny Jet Johnny Jet says:

      I searched one-ways. ITA did bring up a different fare but my point was to clear cookies when buying on some sights


  1. [...] about it on Leo Laportes' podcast (which I believe you can download from his website) but here is a link to the actual posting with screenshots, in case anyone is interested. If this is in the wrong [...]

  2. [...]  Why You Should Delete Your Cookies When Booking Travel  [...]

  3. […] or switch browsers when booking travel online. It could save you a lot of money – as this post by Johnny Jet shows. On a recent search, just by switching browsers he saved almost $200! But don’t worry if you […]

  4. […] You’re judged based on this. You’re misrepresented. You’re targeted based on this. Hell, you may even pay higher prices just based on your browsing history alone. But we still do […]

  5. […] to suggest that Internet history is still driving prices up. Last year, renowned travel blogger Johnny Jet wrote about pricing a ticket from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on the American Airlines site using Safari. He put the $159 […]

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