Thursday, February 12, 2009

against the odds?

I faced a crisis of faith the other day when purchasing airline tickets for an upcoming trip. I had avoided the chore of actually looking for good ticket deals until about 4 weeks out from the actual trip. I was unpleasantly not surprised to see the ticket price was quite high.

But somehow in my surfing I came across Farecast. This site shows you a graph of past tickets prices for your specific query and uses that data to predict whether fares will rise or fall in the near future. It won my master-of-information heart over. Data-driven decision-making! Information visualization! Customized search tool! Nifty web application!

The prediction for my search was that fares would rise and I should wait a few days before purchasing. As I thought about this, risk aversion kicked in. They were only 60% confident in the prediction. The fares could possibly rise. And the site is run by Microsoft!

In the end, I decided to trust the stats and ignore qualm #3. Check out the results.

I saved something like $60/ticket by waiting until Farecast told me to buy. And now I find myself, against all likelihood, actually promoting a Microsoft product.

Maybe I can take the $60 I saved from the ticket at put it towards finally buying a Mac.


Janssen said...

Wow, awesome!

Dawn said...

See! That graduate degree WAS useful for something!

Megan said...

Nice. I have seen that sight before, but I have not actually used it when timing the purchase of plane tickets.
Macs are expensive- keep finding great airfares!