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Farecast launches price-protection service

SmarterTravel

Airfare prediction site Farecast.com has launched a new price-guarantee service that allows travelers to “protect the lowest airfare for their trip” without having to buy a ticket. Or, to put it more plainly, to “reserve” a price you like while you continue your search, never having to worry about the price going up.

Farecast works by predicting a given route’s price trajectory, e.g. if a price is going to go up, down, or stay the same. The new service, called Fare Guard, take it a step further by essentially guaranteeing the accuracy of the price prediction.

There is, of course, a catch. In order to “protect” your price, you need to fork over some money. The introductory cost is $3 to protect a price for up to a week. Beginning February 1, the cost to protect your price goes up to $9.95. If the price of the flight goes up while you’re still protected by Fare Guard, you’ll receive a check in the mail for the difference.

My evaluation: good idea, but I’m not completely sold just yet. Maybe I’m the gambling type, but I prefer to take my chances and book as soon as I find a price I like. Paying extra to protect that price while I keep shopping around? Not for me.

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