High airline ticket prices may prevent some people from taking their dream vacations or making the trip to visit family members, but Priceline.com allows you to bid on airline tickets through its "name your own price" campaign. Airlines often allow the company to sell empty plane seats for them. This may mean major savings if Priceline accepts your bid. With a little research, you can ensure you place a competitive bid with a higher chance of acceptance.
1. Note your travel dates, destination and nearby airports
Note your travel dates, destination and nearby airports. Determine your level of flexibility to fly at different times of the day, depart from a different airport or experience layovers. Flexibility in flight details often is a major factor in securing the best deal. You can’t be stuck on flying first class or getting a business class seat, although you may be lucky. Economy class and premium economy are the most common tickets to be in the bidding process, because premium seats generally have better refund policies than economy tickets.
2. Compare your flight details with ticket price
Compare your flight details with ticket prices on other travel websites to determine the best range for your bid.
3. Research the advance-fare ticket prices
Research the advance-fare ticket prices on the airline website, using the same departure times, airport and length of stay, but three weeks to one month later. Advance tickets generally are less expensive than last-minute auction tickets, so knowing these fares helps you place a competitive minimum bid.
4. Set your bid range higher
Set your bid range higher if you have no flexibility for travel dates and are booking at the last minute. Start your bid lower if you have open travel flexibility or are booking in advance with time to submit multiple bids. Then you can upgrade bidding as it goes instead of hiking up the airfare at the beginning.
5. Enter the flight details
Enter the flight details on the website and submit your bid amount for the flight. Click on the "Bid Now" option to enter flight and bid details. Priceline allows you to name any price, although the company might not accept the bid.
6. Review the total cost
Review the total cost, which includes your bid amount, taxes and fees, and then enter your credit card information to authorize your bid. If your bid is accepted or you win the auction, your tickets will be booked and your credit card will be charged the bid amount.
7. Wait 24 hours to submit a new bid
Wait 24 hours to submit a new bid for the same flight details. Priceline only will allow you to bid for the same flight, with the same dates and airport information, once every 24 hours. If you are not flexible on flight details, it is best to start bidding a week or two in advance to allow yourself enough time to place multiple bids until Priceline accepts your bid.
If you are flexible with your departure dates or can fly from more than one airport, you can place separate flight bids in the same 24-hour period. Simply change the dates or airport for the new flight segment. Although Priceline suggests that you include all possible airports and dates in a single search, choosing only one option per search enables you to place multiple bids.
Priceline can be used for domestic flights and international flights, both one-way and round-trip. Flights from most airlines can be found on Priceline and other bidding websites, including Delta, United, Frontier, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Virgin Atlantic, and even smaller airlines like Hawaiian Airlines.
Never place or confirm a bid unless you are absolutely sure the dates and selected airports work for your travel plans. If your bid is accepted, your credit card is charged a nonrefundable fee with no allowance for cancellations.