It pays to shop around, proven by research conducted by The Observer newspaper, as reported by The Daily Mail. The research — conducted by a journalist — found that many flights booked outside of the UK (i.e. through websites that ended in .com rather than .co.uk) were cheaper.
Special deals were also found on other country’s websites, for example airnewzealand.co.nz had a flight special that airnewzealand.co.uk didn’t have. The customer was able to call and receive the special after complaining.
Construction business owner Bradley Knight also discovered the same phenomenon when he tried to book a flight from London to Las Vegas. as well as some domestic US flights. He found that by using the American Virgin Atlantic website he saved around half — paying 700 pounds versus 1400 pounds — than what he would have paid had he used the UK site. He was able to purchase the airfares through the US site because he has a US debit card from when he lived there previously.
A Virgin spokesman chalked this discrepancy up to:
Prices can differ between countries at different ends of a route because market conditions vary and also because of changes in currency values over time.
The Civil Aviation Authority specifically addressed Britons who experience this:
Britons may be affected more than others because of the almost complete deregulation of air fares in this country, introduced some years ago to create more competition. Not every country has such complete deregulation.
As a side note, I thought this comment at the bottom of the post was interesting, although I have no idea if this is true (Ed. Note: CONSPIRACY ALERT):
Try looking at certain low cost airline websites, looking around on other sites, then returning to the original site, you will also notice that prices increase, not because the planes are being filled, but because the cookie that is installed on your computer is tracking your movements. Don’t believe me??. Try tracking prices from your home computer then, for example, your office, or a friends, computer.
Again, we have no inclination as to the validity of the above comment (computer conspiracy theorists, leave ‘em in the comments!) – it might just be a theory. One thing is clear: lately, booking flights just got a whole more anxiety-inducing.
Happy trip planning!