Budget travelers will snap up cheap airfares the instant a price drops, even knowing they'll have to squeeze into a fetal position on cramped, red-eye flights with lengthy layovers. Hopefully, a novel new travel assistant could help you be more discriminating.
Unlike Farecast (read more), which predicts fare fluctuations to help plan before you buy, Yapta also follows the costs of flights you've already purchased so you can take advantage of an air-travel secret.
Many air carriers will refund some of the difference if, say, the $1,000 Barcelona round-trip you booked in March now costs only $350. Yapta tracks fares for flights that you've flagged and alerts you when prices plummet. At that point, though, you'll have to call the airline yourself to claim your discount--and miss out if the price jumps before you reach a human on the line. You must also make sure that you purchased the fare from the airline itself for the price guarantee to apply.
Yapta works by plugging into Internet Explorer (not Firefox yet) and letting you tag flights as you look them up at 14 airline and flight-finder Web sites, including American, Delta, Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity. Alas, my favorites, SideStep and Kayak, aren't included. When you perform an airfare search, a "Tag It with Yapta" badge appears next to the results. Just click that badge, and then you'll see the ups and downs of your flights when you log on to Yapta.
The acronym for this service stands for "Your Amazing Personal Travel Assistant." I can't say it has lived up to the name by saving me money, since I haven't bought any tickets recently, but I'll definitely put Yapta to the test for summertime trips.