Two ways to use Yapta
Yapta is a free service which will help you track price changes on airline tickets you purchase through a few booking agencies and airlines websites. This can be useful in two cases.
- You are planning a trip and looking at a particular flight. If you don’t buy your tickets the very last day, like I usually do, then you should have some time for bargain hunting. If you truly want to get the best deal then you should be looking at several alternative flights. This is where Yapta comes at hand. Enter the fight details into your Yapta account manually or using the tagging plugin and Yapta will notify you when the price goes down.
- You have purchased your tickets already and want to know about a price decrease so you can claim a voucher or a cash refund from the airline. This only works when you buy your tickets directly from the airline websites and if that airline guarantees the price (an increasingly rare case these days). To accomplish this, enter your itinerary details into Yapta account and the service will notify you if the airlines reduces price on that flight.
New idea — a well adopted old one
When I first heard about Yapta, I immediately thought of PriceProtectr and other similar services that track prices on things you buy from retail merchants, places like Amazon, BestBuy, or CircuitCity. This is the first time however I see anyone implement a price tracking tool for airline tickets. Due to the novelty I expect a lot of media coverage around Yapta. I wonder if general shoppers will adopt the new service as well.
Not everything is bright and shiny
While in general this is an interesting concept, I can see a few disadvantages to using Yapta. First, prices don’t always go down. In fact, with gasoline prices climbing up, ticket prices probably go up more often than they go down. Second, when I plan a trip, I am not usually very flexible with dates and there are quite a few things for me to worry about besides getting the lowest price on that ticket. It is nothing like buying another gadget or an upgrade to my PC, the things I can postpone indefinitely. I often got to get that plane ticket no matter what or my wife and I will have to renegotiate our vacation plans all over again. This pretty much eliminates Yapta as a bargain hunting tool for me.
The other way to use Yapta by tracking price changes on tickets you have bought implies you were using an airline website for your purchase which can also be problematic. Considering myself a frugal shopper I still cannot recall when I last time used an airline website for buying tickets. Using booking agencies is so much more convenient especially when you need to buy a package, a hotel and a ticket together.
Major US airlines are covered
At the time of this announcement Yapta is officially in beta with a limited number of airlines supported. You can currently track flights booked with these airlines:
This is an impressive list however it totally lacks foreign representation. I wish some of South American and European companies were there since a good share of my travel is international.
Just add this one little thing
The last wish in my list would be to extend the tracking capabilities to any flight satisfying certain criteria, and not just specific one that I pick. For example I wish I could set my flight dates and airline preferences, have the tool do the searching, and alert me to an offer when one is available at the price I like. Now I know FareCompare is attempting to do just that but their alerts appear to be too broad for me while Yapta alerts are to restrictive. Am I wishing too much?