Buying a plane ticket is a bit of science. If you buy a plane ticket too far in advance, you can often end up paying a lot more than if you waited closer to your travel date to buy your ticket. On the other hand, if you wait until right before your travel date then you might end up with a pricey ticket as well.
This week Hopper released a tool that makes all that a little easier, at least on the short term. Called “price freeze” the tool allows you to essentially “freeze” a flight price you see and come back and buy it later at that price, even if the cost has gone up.
Flights can’t be frozen indefinitely, only for a window of 1-7 days. The idea here is if you see a good deal you can give yourself an extra day or two to decide whether you want to bite the bullet on it without fear that the price will double before you make that decision. Or if you’re waiting for your paycheck to come in you don’t have to miss out on a great deal you come across.
Freezing a fare, unfortunately, isn’t entirely free. Hopper charges a deposit typically between $1-$60 for you to freeze a fare which is entirely refundable if you do decide to purchase that ticket, but isn’t if you decide to back out. All that to say you want to be pretty sure you want that ticket before freezing it, or it better be a fantastic deal.
And, of course, if the price drops while your price is frozen you can take advantage of the lower price too. You also don’t have to book a flight to the destination you selected for the price freeze. For instance, if I paid $44 to freeze a flight from San Francisco to New York for 7 days, but on day 6 decided I would rather go to Florida than New York, I can get my $44 back by booking that Florida ticket through the service.
During beta testing, Hopper says the average user saved $120 on frozen fares and some up to $295.
If you see a bargain you’re not quite ready to buy, it’s definitely something worth checking out. Especially on “Travel Deal Tuesday,” the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, where flights are typically significantly cheaper than they are other times on the year.
Price freeze is available now on iOS with support for Android expected to come soon.