Q: You state on the site that fares can change up to three times a day. Is that East Coast time or West Coast or what? Also, how do these fare changes work: are they advertised or regulated by the government?
A: Fare changes take place on East Coast (EST) time. Most, but definitely not all, airlines file their fares with a company in the Washington, DC area called ATPCO (the Airline Tariff Publishing Company), which used to be a quasi-governmental agency but now is a private company, three times a day during the week and just once a day on Saturday and Sunday. The weekday changes are filed around 10 AM, 12.30 PM, and 8 PM, and the weekend changes at around 5 PM. But it takes several hours for the fares to filter down to your favorite online travel agency. We actually find that
CheapAir.com gets the fare changes faster than
Travelocity.com, but eventually all the travel agencies will display the new fares. There is no governmental regulation on airfares now, although before airline deregulation, fares and routes were heavily controlled by the Federal government. Most fare changes, especially the really good ones, are not advertised, probably because the airlines only want to sell a certain number of seats at the reduced fare.