Why Orbitz May Not Show the Right Prices

Hello, dear reader! Today, we’re going to delve into a topic that has puzzled many: why doesn’t Orbitz always show the right prices? Let’s break it down together, shall we?

1. The Intricacies of Flight Data

Firstly, it’s important to understand that Orbitz, like many other travel booking sites, fetches and caches flight data from various major Global Distribution Systems (GDSs). This means that when you search for a flight, Orbitz is showing you data that it has stored from these GDSs.

1.1 The Role of Caching

Now, you might be wondering, “What’s caching?” Well, caching is a method used by websites to store data so that future requests for that data can be served faster. In the case of Orbitz, it caches flight data to quickly show you available flights.

1.2 The Catch with Caching

Here’s where things get tricky. When you try to book a flight, Orbitz attempts to confirm the seat with the airline. However, if the seat is already booked, the airline refuses the confirmation. This discrepancy occurs because the cache in Orbitz is not updated in real-time.

2. The Phantom Flights Phenomenon

This leads us to the phenomenon of ‘phantom flights’. These are flights that appear available on Orbitz but are actually already booked. To avoid showing sold-out prices, Orbitz deletes these flights from its cache. However, if one of the GDSs itself is not updated yet, the flight might show up again on Orbitz. This cycle can lead to the appearance of fluctuating prices and availability.

3. The Impact of Interface Changes

Another factor that might affect the prices you see is changes to the Orbitz interface. For instance, Orbitz once had a feature that allowed users to search for flights 3 days before and after their specified travel dates. This feature often revealed great bargain fares. However, with recent interface changes, this feature seems to have been removed, which could potentially impact the range of prices shown to users.

4. The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the prices you see on Orbitz are influenced by a variety of factors, including the intricacies of flight data, the use of caching, the occurrence of ‘phantom flights’, and changes to the Orbitz interface. So, next time you’re searching for flights, remember these points and happy travels!

Remember, knowledge is power. By understanding these factors, you can navigate the world of online flight booking with more confidence and savvy. Happy traveling!

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