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Growing number of carriers offer 'fare lock'

Friday, November 8, 2013

Growing number of carriers offer 'fare lock'

Anyone who has traveled by air enough knows how frequently ticket prices can fluctuate. You check one day and prices may seem reasonable and then look back a couple days later and they've jumped considerably. With that in mind, a growing number of airlines have instituted a program known as fare lock, which allows you to lock into a fair for several days - for a small fee. Experts anticipate that this trend will continue to grow in the coming years, Fox News reported.

Such programs have been in place for three years, but are only recently beginning to catch on. Under Department of Transportation regulations, airlines have to allow passengers to hold a reservation or cancel a booking for 24 hours without any penalty, but if you are still unsure of your travel plans, the fare lock option may be the best choice. For instance, United lets passengers hold a reservation for 72 hours for a fee of $9.99 or for one week at $14.99. There are some drawbacks, however.

"United has a complex algorithm, when the risk is minimized for the airline, in terms of offering the hold, it will offer it," industry expert John DiScala told the news source. "It's not something the consumer can rely on."

Before booking serviced apartments, travelers can take steps to make sure they get the best air fare possible. Fox Business recommends shopping in the so-called magic window - about 21 days before the flight.