Crying Wolf? On the Price Discrimination of Online Airline Tickets

Thomas Vissers 1, * Nick Nikiforakis 1 Nataliia Bielova 2 Wouter Joosen 1
* Corresponding author
2 INDES - Secure Diffuse Programming
CRISAM - Inria Sophia Antipolis - Méditerranée
Abstract : Price discrimination refers to the practice of dynamically varying the prices of goods based on a customer's purchasing power and willingness to pay. In this paper, motivated by several anecdotal ac-counts, we report on a three-week experiment, conducted in search of price discrimination in airline tickets. Despite presenting the companies with multiple opportunities for discriminating us, and contrary to our expectations, we do not find any evidence for systematic price discrimi-nation. At the same time, we witness the highly volatile prices of certain airlines which make it hard to establish cause and effect. Finally, we provide alternative explanations for the observed price differences.
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Thomas Vissers, Nick Nikiforakis, Nataliia Bielova, Wouter Joosen. Crying Wolf? On the Price Discrimination of Online Airline Tickets. 7th Workshop on Hot Topics in Privacy Enhancing Technologies (HotPETs 2014), Jul 2014, Amsterdam, Netherlands. ⟨hal-01081034⟩

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