Get a refund if your flight falls in price

I posted last week about a bad experience with Kayak. Their chief architect was nice enough to give a helpful response. Anyway, a reader, Sam, then pointed me to Yapta, what he calls “a sexier Kayak.”

We’ve posted about Yapta back in April when they first opened. Unlike Orbitz or Travelocity or Kayak for that matter, it’s not meant to help you find cheap tickets. What it’s good at, aside from centralizing airfare options into one convenient location, is helping you land a refund after you’ve booked your flight if it goes down in price. Apparently most airlines have this secret policy, but they don’t advertise it, and of course, almost no one bothers to look up ticket prices again for a flight they’ve already booked. Until now!

Now it seems after the news of Kayak buying up Sidestep, other travel sites are eyeing Yapta, which is still a fledgling startup. The site’s been fairly successful in the half year it’s been open; a couple weeks ago, they announced a Firefox add-on that makes tracking your purchases that much easier. What you do is input your flight itinerary into Yapta, and they’ll send you an email when it goes down in price. If you don’t think this is a big deal (or big business), just out these stats from a beta trial Yapta did earlier this year. “Yapta found that 34% of purchased tickets became eligible for a refund. The average refund was 16% of the ticket price, or $85. During the beta period that worked out to a total of $28,900 in aggregate potential refunds, or about $100 per beta user,” said the good people at Techcrunch.

The only thing is I’m not sure just how easy or costly it is to get the refund. Newsweek claims that you’ll be charged $100 on most airlines for the flight change.