About a month ago I was tweeting about watching airline fares and trying to figure out when the prices were their lowest to book my trip.
Jim Lokay, reporter from WCVB Channel 5, tweeted back that I should sign up for Yapta (Your Amazing Personal Travel Assistant).
As a result, I set up an account with Yapta and also reached out for an interview with their CEO of Yapta, James Filsinger to learn more. Here is a compilation of my experiences with their website and my interview with James, who was very gracious—thank you. Big shout out to Jeff from Tailwind PR for setting this up for me!
I went to the site, signed in, and entered the trip details that I had just booked with JetBlue under the “My Trips” section. A week later, I received an e-mail alert that the price had dropped. I called JetBlue, they recognized the new lower price and I saved money, joining the other 1,500,000 registered users that have saved more than $500 million since 2007. Note JetBlue can not credit your card, but gives you a credit in a travel bank for future flights. There are no change fees to do this.
My only problem with the site was that there was no “Sign in” tab at the top, but instead you had to press “MyTrips” in the middle of the screen. James mentioned that they will look into this. On the other hand, the application for my phone is great! I just went in just now for my trip next Saturday:
· High price: $345.50
· Low price: $205.50 (my price too!)
· Current: $345.50
Don’t believe it is that easy? Call JetBlue at 1-800-JET-BLUE and ask them if they always recognize the lowest price. I don’t know how easy the other airlines recognize the lowest price, but I can tell you that JetBlue was incredibly easy.
How much does Yapta cost? It is free! Yapta makes money from the ads displayed on the website and by working with referral partners like Kayak and Orbitz.
Why would airlines make it so easy for people to get the lowest price? After all, the $500 million people saved by using Yapta has to come right off the bottom line. The answer seems to be loyalty.
Wouldn’t you feel better booking a ticket today, knowing of that if the price drops, from now till the day of your trip, that you can get that lower price? More importantly, the only way you can get these savings is to fly again with that airline! I think JetBlue should create a Yapta badge. Bring the humanity back into booking tickets! Another reason airlines (not JetBlue, SouthWest, Airtran or Alaska Air) do not mind doing this is that they will have change fees of approximately $175 per ticket, and we all know how much airlines love fee income.
One other important note about refunds on purchased tickets: you’re only eligible for a refund/credit if you book your ticket directly with the airline. If you book with Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, or any other third-party booking company, you are beholden to their price guarantee policy, if they offer one. Orbitz, for example, will only issue a refund when another Orbitz customer books the same flight, in the same fare class, at a lower price. The odds are extremely rare that this will occur!
Last year Yapta started another service for corporate travel. Corporate travel managers simply instruct their travel management company to share itineraries with Fare IQ like I did with my flight. Last year Fare IQ saved their corporate customers $2,000,000. Note Fare IQ is not free, but charges a percentage of the savings that are created for their corporate clients.
In closing, I highly encourage anyone who reads this to sign up for Yapta. And if you are in charge of corporate travel at your company, look into Fare IQ. Lastly, I found another reason to love JetBlue—they always recognize the lowest price!
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