Hopper Now Has Cheaper Fares Than Airlines Sell On Their Own Sites

Hopper unveiled new ‘secret fares’ today that are provided by airlines and lower than what carriers offer customers on their own websites.

They’re touting fares up to 35% off and savings of up to $500 per ticket, with deals available “on over 60,000 routes to international destinations like Tokyo, Melbourne, Paris, Barcelona, Rio De Janeiro, and Costa Rica.”

So far they’re only set up with international airlines, hence deals only for international travel, but they tell me they are “very far along in discussions with one of the big three US carriers.”

You’d expect airlines to offer their lowest prices on their own website, and they don’t want to train customers to look elsewhere. However they also want segmentation. People going to sites Hopper are going to be searching for the best deal, and are the least brand loyal, they may not have been searching the airline to begin with.

And Hopper does push notifications through their app to customers, generating sales for trips customers may not have been initially searching for.

And there’s certainly less brand loyalty among US consumers with foreign carriers. People go online to learn what’s possible, rather than starting at the Air China website for instance.

Though we’ll certainly figure out the full list of airlines they’re working with in short order – and these aren’t ‘opaque’ fares like you used to find on Priceline – they’ve disclosed they’re working with:

  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Copa
  • Turkish
  • WestJet

Here are their ‘sample deals’ though I certainly see cheaper pricing at times.

Origin Destination Online Price Secret Fare Price
Dallas Beijing $1,375 $864
Chicago Tokyo $1,422 $1,152
Los Angeles Rio de Janeiro $1,007 $930
Miami Madrid $1,083 $795
New York Paris $1,017 $519

Unsurprisingly discounted fares move the needle on purchase behavior, Hopper has found in their beta testing that one airline “was able to shift their share of tickets sold on Hopper from 4% to over 30% on routes from the US to A[sia Pacific] during this initial testing phase.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I bought a ticket on Air France for my daughter to go to Europe for a summer class. 30% less than on the carriers web site. In coach every airline sucks and she has zero loyalty to any airline so its a bargain. Hopper will kill it if everything works and they have half an ounce of customer service.

  2. I assume you don’t get to know the airline or time until you book the ticket though?

  3. @Jeremy —> Certainly Gary will answer for himself, but that was NOT the way I read the article. I think you DO know the airline, based upon this sentence: “these aren’t ‘opaque’ fares like you used to find on Priceline – they’ve disclosed they’re working with.”

    @Gary —> which is it?

  4. What I meant to explain is that you do know the schedule (Priceline would just give you the date but not flight times). The schedule tells you the airline in almost every case.

  5. Gary:

    Thank you. I downloaded the app. It seems this is just for main cabin. No business class. Correct?

  6. orbitz started for this reason, it’s just a matter of time before it changes business models. and orbitz had a leg up since airlines started it. i worked at worldspan back in 2000, we interacted with orbitz (because of DL ownership), expedia, and priceline to source the extra inventory…and all three have changed from their original models.

  7. Ho hum – economy class deals are a dime a dozen these days thanks to Norwegian and other LCCs. Business class discounts are where the real action is.

    That being said I find Hopper fare alerts to be great for tracking price drops, particularly due to instant push alerts. Yapta formerly served this function but does not seem reliable anymore.

  8. What about best price guarantees? AC for example gives 50$ if you find a better price elsewhere within 24h (cancelling period) but it has to be a Canadian site and the fare has to be in CAD.

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