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Have you ever sat on a plane and the people around you get in a discussion on how much they paid for their tickets? The discrepancy in price can be amazing (and depressing), especially when the person next to you got her ticket for 1/2 what you paid. A couple sites are now offering charted data of flight prices for specified periods of time. On Fly Spy you can search (currently only from Minneapolis – more cities to be added) 30 days of fare information, displayed in a stock-market style graph, and based on parameters such as length of stay, or pairing different cities. You can even search for flights, for the frequent flyer addicts out there, offering the lowest cost per mile.
Seattle-based Farecast offers even more by detailing data from Boston and Seattle to 120 U.S. markets, with more on the way. Farecast not only displays the lowest fares, but uses predictive technology to determine how those fares will change in the next week. They claim to therefore be the only airfare site that answers the question “Do I buy or do I wait?”
How successful will these services be? That remains to be seen. I, for example, currently subscribe to Kayak’s mailing list for cities I am interested in. I then receive emails weekly of special airfare deals. And there’s always the last-minute rockbottom prices. I flew roundtrip to NYC this past weekend for $180 on a flight that normally runs at least $500.