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When is a good time to buy Tickets? November 20, 2006

Posted by farshadf in Buy this.

With its mind-numbing fluctuations, the airfare market is a whole lot like the stock market, and around the holidays, the last thing you need is more volatility in your life. Good thing your stockbroker, Farecast.com, just pulled up in his import. Hatched three years ago by a fed-up computer science professor, Farecast is currently expanding to most national hubs. It provides the usual price rundown, comparing fares from all the travel sites like Orbitz and Travelocity.

But Farecast then goes one step further and provides you a forecast of how the ticket price will pan out over the coming week. You get a recommendation to either “Buy Now” or “Wait” based on an aggregate of information your poor human brain could never fully process, mainly involving price history and market climate. Each decision comes with a confidence level expressed as a percentage—because nothing beats an honest algorithm. So far the company’s accuracy is at 75 percent and climbing. That’s a number you only wish your broker could hit.

Farecast is still in beta mode, though, so be prepared for some error messages and limited options (no one-way international flights). Also, there are plans to add more cities, but for now many main hubs have gotten the snub. You can, however, vote for cities to be added.

You may have your day yet, Boise.



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