A research team from VPNOverview analyzed several major online airline booking sites this week and discovered that anyone still stranded abroad that is looking for affordable flights to get home will get different results by using different versions of the sites that are aimed for specific countries.
On March 22 and 23, the Dutch website that specializes in cybersecurity and privacy topics examined several flight options that are still available via large booking sites like Skyscanner, Agoda, and Expedia.
They looked at flights available on the Dutch, American, Romanian, Portuguese and British versions of the relevant booking sites to see whether the offer and pricing of flights changed depending on the regional version of the site. They also checked whether changing the IP address by using a VPN had any impact on the price and availability of flights.
In one example, they looked at the Dutch version of Skyscanner to book a flight from Cairo to Düsseldorf on March 28, 2020. The “fastest” flight was 17 hours and 25 minutes at a price of €1779. The American version of Skyscanner offered an 8 hours and 35 minutes flight that cost a mere €492. Many other examples were observed and it wasn’t always the British or American version of the booking website didn’t show the fastest or most competitively priced flights.
Their conclusion was that for anyone booking a flight online, they are advised to review multiple versions of the booking site they are using to ensure they are shown the most suitable flight options which is especially important during a time of crisis like the one the world is currently experiencing. A full article explaining the study’s methodology can be found on VPNOverview’s website.