News Article

Booking a holiday? Make sure you know how to clear your cookies

Published 27 June 2016 by

Gone are the days where your only option to book a holiday was to head down to your nearest travel agent. You can now search a variety of different flights, hotels and package deals all from the comfort of your own home.

But are there any drawbacks of using the web to book a holiday? According to a report by The House of Lords EU Committee, there is. It claims that some sites use cookies to charge some holidaymakers more.

What are cookies?

When you visit any website for the first time, a small file called a cookie is downloaded onto your computer. Sites have to ask you about this and you’ll usually click a button to accept cookies. The next time you visit the site again, your computer checks to see if it has a relevant cookie and sends the information in that cookie back to the site.

The site then recognises that you’ve visited before and can tailor what’s shown on the website to the information it has on you. Some believe that airlines use this information – such as the fact that you’ve visited before – to bump up the price of airline fares.

Do holiday sites use them?

Although many airline companies publish information about how they use cookies on their site, it’s unclear whether it can increase the amount that you pay.

With that said, there are many examples of people visiting a site for a second time and being quoted a higher price. One man spoke to The Guardian about this. He claims that after visiting a website to book airline tickets he was quoted the price of £187.

Minutes later, he went back to the site and the price had increased to £212. After deleting the cookies and removing his browsing history, the ticket returned back to its original price.

How to clear your cookies

Although there’s no clear evidence to suggest that all airlines use cookies in this way, it’s worth taking the time to clear your cookies regardless. The process for this will vary depending on the internet browser you use.

Here are the instructions for how to clear cookies for Chrome and Internet Explorer.

Chrome

1. Click the Chrome menu on the right hand of your screen.

2. Click ‘More tools’ and then ‘Clear browsing data’.

3. In the box that appears, click the boxes for ‘Cookies and other site and plug-in data’ and ‘Cached images and files’.

4. Choose from when you want this data to be cleared from and click ‘Clear browsing data’.

Internet Explorer

1. Select the ‘Tools’ button in the right hand of your screen.

2. Click on ‘Safety’ and then ‘Delete browsing history’.

3. Select the ‘Cookies’ and ‘website data’ boxes and then select ‘Delete’.

This process will vary depending on the version of Internet Explorer you have – find out how to delete cookies in Internet Explorer 8 here.

Have Firefox or Safari? You can head to their websites for the full details of how to clear your cookies on the browsers.

Are you a thinkmoney customer? You can read about whether you can use your thinkmoney card abroad here.

Legal Information