Like other travel search engines, Seattle-based Farecast tries to present a comprehensive list of flights and fares available on the dates a traveler wants to travel. But Farecast takes the search process a step further, giving the consumer a look at the history of fares on a particular route and then predicting where fares are headed.

For example, a search last week on Farecast for a flight from Boston to San Francisco at the end of this month indicated the lowest fare on that day was $461 on US Airways. The fare history showed the lowest fare over the previous 65 days was $349 and the average lowest fare over that period was $385.

Farecast's prediction: Buy now because there was a strong likelihood fares to San Francisco would be rising $50 over the next week. The website said it was 70 percent confident about its prediction.

Fares have been rising all year, and Farecast indicates the trend is continuing. I checked fares from Boston to 15 destinations and Farecast predicted a $50 increase is coming on 11 routes, a $28 increase on one route, and price drops of $6 to $50 on the three remaining routes.

"We're doing the same thing the weatherman does," said Hugh Crean , Farecast's chief executive. "We haven't achieved clairvoyance, nor will we. But we're doing travel search with a real level of advocacy for the consumer."

Get the full story at The Boston Globe