Having once paid almost double what it cost me to fly from Boston to LA for a Boston-New York trip, I've always wondered what bizarre rituals the powers-that-be at the airlines must go through to set their ticket prices. Something to do with chicken bones, an old soup can, and a pair of dice, perhaps? Thankfully, an MIT grad took on the challenge, as explained in this article in Wired. With diagrams, no less.
But, no matter how much you study the deals on Orbitz et al, remember this (from the article):
- The system is so complex that the problem of finding the cheapest airfare between two cities is considered mathematically unfathomable. According to a paper from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics provided by ITA, "the problem of finding the cheapest airfare from point A to point B is unsolvable."