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Airplane Tickets Available?

I was hoping someone here with more knowledge of the airplane industry than me (Al, maybe?) could answer a question I have about the availability of airplane tickets.

I've been searching different websites for several months now, for an open-jaw flight Seattle-Rome and Florence-Seattle for mid-November. I found a flight on Orbitz with near-perfect times & connections on Northwest/KLM going through Amsterdam. Due to the codeshare, they pop up as four available different combos. Recently, the same flight showed up on airfare.com for $799. However, if I try to book the tickets (on either site) I get the "due to inventory constantly changing, this fare is no longer available" and poof they go. I can't even get the (return) flight to come up directly on Northwest's site.

Are the tickets sold out? Not released yet? Is Orbitz/airfare.com just messing with my head? I'm asking mostly out of curiosity, since I've never had this situation occur before.

Posted by
769 posts

Ive had that before too - unavailable when i wanted one. I just go direct with the carrier and buy or use miles. Try calling them and find out - sometimes the carriers own online or direct have same or better deals.

Posted by
23464 posts

I am not sure what is happening because I have seen the same thing many times. I am inclined to think that there are one or two seat available at that price but quickly grab by someone else. Last year I put a request into a fare tracking site and about once a week would get notice of a fare that met my requirement BUT it was never available when I went to the site. The fare notice e-mail always arrived around 1 or 2 AM mountain time but was unavailable when I try to access it around 6AM. I assume someone else got it a few minutes after it was offered. I assume that is what is happening to you.

Most of the airline seat offerings are computer driver by very complex yield formulas designed to yield max revenue. Maybe the computer thinks dangling a one cheap fare will hook someone who will buy the next higher fare when the cheap fare is gone. Who knows??? It is obvious, I don/t.

Posted by
1317 posts

I think you're onto something Frank, especially with respect to airfare.com. They never have the lowest fare that kayak.com says they have. (They also don't include taxes & fees in their 'lowest' fare, so I avoid them as much as possible.)

I just find it amusing and frustrating that they will post the tickets for days, and in multiple combinations (NW - NW, NW - KLM, KLM- KLM...even though it's all the same flight) without making them purchaseable.

It is now a moot question for me though, as I purchased 2 roundtrip tickets Seattle-Rome from vayama.com for $648 each. It will cost us each an additional $50 to take the train back from Florence, but the savings are still significant, especially with oil prices what they are.

Posted by
658 posts

I wish I could help - I have no idea why you can't book these codeshare flights.

It hardly sounds legal to me. if you can see it you should be able to book it.