Sneaky Change in Price Leads to Overcharge of Tickets

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Dec 13, 2019
My wife and I purchased flights from Phoenix to Lima Peru for August 26 - Sep 6th 2020. We booked through google flights for $691 a ticket. After clicking through and entering our information, American Airlines changed the price as we were purchasing our tickets (probably on the last screen before we purchased or as we were clicking through) and we didn’t notice until after the 24 hour window.

We were up charged $30 per ticket for our flights for a total of 722.99 per ticket. The whole thing felt sneaky and manipulative. How are they able to change the price mid purchase?? I reached out to them, but American Airlines won’t help us and honor the price we had anticipated paying. They even lied that there has never been a cheaper price for these tickets, but I have proof with google flights price history of the price we were supposed to pay on the day we bought our tickets (Nov 26th)

I have lost all trust in American Airlines not only for the overcharge, but that they would change the flight price mid purchase. Please help us!

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
Google is an aggregator and what you see may not be available when you go to the actual website to book. The only thing that matters is the airline website. You didn’t book through Google- all Google did was send you to the airline website to make the purchase. Airline seat pricing is dynamic and can change as you are trying to book - someone grabbed those seats at the same time you were trying to book them. This can happen regardless of where you book.

This is not unusual and can happen anytime. It’s who grabs those seats first. Book directly with the airline, don’t go through Google. These aggregators also send you to some websites to buy tickets that have terrible reviews. Book directly with the airline.
May 7, 2019
I sympathize with you, Bestidoever, because that has happened to me. (Not sure which airline it was, though.)

But Neil is absolutely correct:

Google Flights is an excellent resource for searching for the best fares. But the fare you pay is the fare you see when you click the “purchase” button on the airline’s website.

That fare is not always identical to what Google Flights showed.


Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
Thirty dollars is hardly a huge upcharge. Are you sure it isn't for fees and/or taxes, or for something like seat selection or a checked bag? Third-party sites like Google, etc, don't always show all the taxes and fees up front. RT from Phoenix to Peru for $723 sounds like an amazing bargain. Are they non-refundable, non-changeable tickets?
Feb 3, 2019
American Airlines changed the price as we were purchasing our tickets (probably on the last screen before we purchased or as we were clicking through) and we didn’t notice until after the 24 hour window.
When you select flights via Google and click through to purchase on American's site, AA clearly displays a final purchase price that includes all taxes and mandatory fees. I have often seen a Google Flights fare is no longer available on, but on AA, I have always seen extremely clear pricing info.

You were given an opportunity to view the final price before you clicked to complete your purchase. Are you alleging the final charge to your credit card was higher than that displayed on the final screen? What does your AA receipt say?

Did you perhaps see pricing for Basic Economy, but then select Main Cabin tickets?

Did you select a premium seat assignment on any of your flights?

Did you inadvertently agree to add trip insurance to your purchase?
Sep 27, 2018
As Neil stated, Google flights does not accurately represent price. I use it mainly to research itineraries and get a general range of prices. Also, watch out for a price to be an aggregate of 1-way flights, which can save money, but also carries more risk.
May 30, 2019
Sorry for your issue, however it is pretty common. It is likely that google did not compute the latest taxes (US or Peru) or airline-specific fees.

Next time, I suggest using the approach I use for shopping for flights:
  1. Do research on OTA sites such as Google Flights, Expedia, etc.
  2. Research then take note of your preferred itinerary, including flight number, date, and times.
  3. Open a new tab on your browser and directly to the airline's web site (in this case, type '') and go through the purchase process step by step from scratch.
  4. (Also: NEVER use your browser's auto-complete. Input each field by hand to ensure you are inputting the correct names, passport numbers, etc.)
This will ensure that you see the most up to date airfare and itinerary and airline-specific terms & conditions. It is also easier to pick out seats and determine if you want to pay extra for Premium Economy, in-flight meals, or similar upsells.