Let me start this out by saying I didn't "hack" something in the black hat Hackers way, but by finding a market inefficiency and leveraging it to my advantage. It must be the day trader in me. No harm was done to any computers or systems in the making of this post.
Long version: I was looking for flights to New Orleans when I realized that the flight price I checked yesterday was ~$100 cheaper. I started to think why the price went up so much in one day and tried checking the flight again using only Google Incognito but there was no price budge. Maybe my VPN had something to do with it? The night before I was using a VPN (I use BTGuard btw) and Kayak thought I was from Toronto, Canada. I guess if you are not from the departure city then flights are cheaper?
So I had originally went to Kayak today and checked flights from Miami to New Orleans (Mardi Gras, w00t!). This was done without a VPN but using Google's Incognito feature. Take a look at how much the flights were:
Flights to New Orleans from Miami (Non-VPN)
Also, check out where my IP was saying that I was from:
This is my "real" IP, no VPN
I thought this was strange since the night before I had checked flights and they were ~$100 cheaper. I realized I was logged into my VPN and thought it might have to do with that (BTW, I use the VPN to mask my internet traffic… sorry NSA). So what did I do? Tried checking again while being logged into my VPN!
This is me being logged into my VPN:
And here is where my IP is saying that I am from:
So I tried Kayak again, while being "shown" as being from Canada and this is what I got:
Check out the Canadian flag at the top right
That is about a ~$70+ price difference (I don't think that included taxes)! Also, when I had checked earlier, that $345 flight wasn't there… so it was a +$100 difference. When I went to book my flight my checkout total was in EUROS! The thing is, it wasn't 380 euros, but 207 euros! That converts to about $280 USD.
Moral of the story? Try booking your flights through a VPN, maybe you'll save a few bucks….. even if you pay in euros.
PS: I checked my online bank statement and I paid $281.60 total!
PPS: The flight is now over $400 on a non-VPN via Kayak + Google Incognito.
Jose Casanova is a proprietary trader turned digital executive. He is
also the author of "Growth Hacking - A How To Guide On Becoming A
Growth Hacker" which is currently available on Amazon. This post originally appeared on his blog and has been republished with permission.