The fare-no-longer-available trick is just one of many perfectly legal travel industry ploys designed to convince you to make a booking decision now and to pay more. Travel companies use methods that range from decoy prices to creating the perception of product scarcity to persuade you to push the "book" button.
And travelers keep falling for it, which makes you wonder: Are we willing participants? Do we accept being deceived?
Industry analysts say travel companies must engage in these pricing shenanigans. Travel products — and this is particularly true of airline seats and hotel rooms — are considered "perishable" products, which is a fancy way of saying you can't make money off an empty airline seat or hotel room. So the industry created a sophisticated system to ensure money isn't left on the table.
"Airlines are maniacally focused on squeezing every penny they can out of their travelers," explains James Filsinger, president of Yapta, which can track price changes in airline tickets. "This approach is known as yield management."
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