Whenever you want to fly, so does everyone else

Tracy Stewart, September 29, 2008
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. I was wondering if airlines have little elves that scour the nation for festivals, sporting events, and concerts and then deliberately jack up the price of airfare to any given city based on those events.  A couple examples:
    Round-trip San Diego to Austin for a Univ. of Texas home football game: $347
    Round-trip San Diego to Austin any other weekend: $299
    Round-trip San Diego to Austin for South By Southwest music festival: $404
    Round-trip San Diego to Austin the following week: $365
    It's almost like the airlines "know" about every major event happening on every city and jack up fares only on those particular weekends.  I'm an avid marathoner and this happens to me all the time when I fly to different races around the country.  Flights the weekend of a big race in that town are usually much higher.  Is there really some loser at a desk somewhere researching EVERY major event in every city in America?  If not, then the airlines are just psychic.

    A. The airlines only sell so many seats at the cheapest fares and when those are sold, the next highest priced seats are sold, and so on. It's all done by sophisticated yield management software, not so much by elves these days. They did use elves back in the day, but they've all retired now, replaced like so many of us by computers. You'll be glad to know however that we still employ elves here at Airfarewatchdog. We don't use computer software to find and evaluate the fares we list.