Last week I setup an experiment to see whether United FareLock was worthwhile to purchase. Although only a single anecdote I wanted to see if a one-way flight from Boston-Cleveland-Orlando on March 14th, 2013 was worthy of purchasing United FareLock for.
The Original United FareLock Experiment Setup
The original setup for this experiment was for $239 including all taxes and fees. I had the option of purchasing United FareLock for $7.99 to hold this price for up to one-week. In essence it was purchasing a call option for a flight. I paid the $7.99 and at any time in the next seven days I had the option of purchasing my original flight for the original price of $239.
If the price increased more than $7.99 then I saved money by purchasing United FareLock. If the price dropped all I was out was my $7.99 and could purchase the original flight at the new, lower price.
The price of my original flight was $239 and the new price of my flight is $311. That is a price difference of $72 in just over a week’s time! That is only one price difference but it really shows how often the price of a flight on United or other carriers change. With new pricing systems in place the airlines can now adjust prices on a daily, hourly, or minute-by-minute basis to make the most money.
If I had purchased the United FareLock product for $7.99 I would have saved $72 for a net savings after cost of roughly $64. A savings like that definitely makes the product worthwhile.
The result of the experiment is the following:
Is United FareLock Worthwhile?
In the one scenario that I’ve presented, United FareLock was worth the price of $7.99. This was a booking 6 weeks out when costs of airfare can be very volatile. If you’re booking 6 months out it probably isn’t worth it to purchase FareLock since an additional week probably isn’t very volatile. But if you’re purchasing 4 weeks out then it very well might be worthwhile since during that short-term booking period the prices of airfare can dramatically increase or drop.