Stop Clearing your Cookies when Searching for Flights

clearing cookies when searching for flights

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I don’t go on rants too often, but I recently saw a highly viewed video by a so-called “travel hacker” claiming that clearing your cookies will somehow allow you to find cheaper flights. I find flight deals for a living and make thousands of searches using Google Flights. I can unequivocally tell you that CLEARING COOKIES DOES NOTHING.

Cookies Explained: Cookies track visits to a website and can be used to manipulate pricing


If you’ve read how to book the cheapest flight possible then you know that using Google Flights is our #1 tool to search for cheap flights. Google Flights does not track cookies and raise prices. There really is no reason to search for flights with anything other than Google Flights. It’s the most comprehensive airfare search tool unless of course, you want to book Southwest flights (which aren’t featured).

Also, booking directly through the airline or booking through most OTAs such as Expedia and Priceline, generally should not be impacted by cookies either. The takeaway from this post is to search with Google Flights and book directly with the airline (if possible). Your pricing will never be impacted by previous searches.

Now it is important to note that airfare pricing is highly variable and is always changing. If you’ve gone to search for a ticket and then the pricing mysteriously jumps, it’s not you, it’s likely just prices shifting. That is why we always recommend setting up Google Flights price alerts to monitor for cheap fares. Of course, signing up for Thrifty Traveler Premium is also a great option where we do all the hard work for you.

Thrifty Tip: Learn more about how Thrifty Traveler Premium works.


Bottom Line 

Now can hotel bookings be impacted by cookies? Possibly yes! To avoid this, I would recommend booking directly with the hotel and always make sure to compare to Priceline or another hotel search service. I’m glad I can finally post these facts and save you time clearing those cookies. Fear, not Thrifty Travelers, I’ve got your back.


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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

6 Responses

  1. Msfre1 says:

    Thank you for this post. There is so much misinformation out there!

  2. Andrew says:

    Agree to disagree about Google Flights being totally comprehensive…I recently spent about a week tracking prices on an international route using Google, Kayak, and Expedia. Several of those days there were ideal flights (including the one I ended up booking) on the latter two that weren’t showing up on the former. It’s a very useful tool, but it shouldn’t be the only one. Also, I think ITA Matrix (owned by Google) is infinitely more useful and powerful than Google Flights–not sure why they keep them separate.

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