Thursday, August 19, 2010

Real-time pricing

Hmm, I was checking airfare prices from Shenzhen to Taipei earlier. There is a direct flight on China Southern that cost $142 directly from their website. At the time, I was browsing with Safari and it didn't show me the secure connection icon so I tried again using Firefox. It was only ~2 minutes but the price jumped to $155. Huh? Thinking this may be the tracking cookie trick (show too much interest and price goes up), I tried the same search using my PC (instead of the Mac) but the results were the same. Did someone else snatch up the last cheap seat while I was switching browsers? Anyway, seems pretty expensive for a 90 minute one-way flight but since everything else is already arranged, I went and booked it anyway. It would have cost me ¥1138 on so I save a little bit.


I just looked at the e-ticket confirmation and it dropped my first name from the ticket. Arg! To match my passport, I put in my first and middle (Chinese) name but now only the middle name shows up. I heard before that they're really picky about passport names in China and they don't quite understand the whole "middle" name concept. I don't want to get stuck in Shenzhen... or I may have to get a job at Foxconn assembling iPhones/iPads. :(


I went back into the China Southern website to double check what name I put into their system and it looks like I forgot to put my first name in the form; Firefox remembers what you typed for each field online. At least the passport number I typed in matches. Also, the airfare is back down to $142. I was going to book the flight on Expedia but it also showed a price increase from $152 to $167 at the time... now it's down to $152. I don't get what happened; maybe I was in a parallel universe for the 5 minutes when I booked my flight with the "wrong" name and at a higher price.

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