Lonely Planet Writer

A new app allows you to bid on unsold airline tickets at the last minute

There’s nothing quite like snagging an amazing deal when it comes to travel, whether it’s scooping up a special offer for a hotel stay or getting a good price on a rental car. Quite often, however, the heftiest part of paying for any trip abroad is the plane ticket, and it’s not always as easy to get a good deal. With this in mind, a brand new app been launched that allows customers to bid on unsold airline seats at the last minute.

A woman in a coffee shop looking at a smartphone with a laptop and phone
Users can enter the maximum price they are willing to pay for a ticket. Image by Tim Robberts

Called Air Ticket Arena, the cloud-based platform launched on Android (there is also a web-based version of the app currently in beta testing) at the start of February, and allows users to search for and bid on fantastic deals for tickets that remain unsold by a host of airlines around the world in order to find lowest possible price set by the companies. The app is free to use, and users must be verified before browsing. They can then search based on location, whether the flight is direct, or includes a stopover, and whether the ticket is economy, premium, business or first class, and bids can be placed up to 14 days ahead of a preferred departure date. The enterprise is aimed at travellers who are prepared and open to take spontaneous trips, as each person can enter the maximum price that they are willing to pay for a ticket before finding out 48 to 24 hours prior to departure if their bid was successful. If so, the airline will automatically book the flight and generate an e-ticket for the customer. The app also includes the option for tickets for children and infants.

Happy passengers traveling by airplane and talking to each other. Focus is on man.
Designed for spontaneous travellers, the app alerts users if their bids were successful 48 to 24 hours before time of departure Image by BraunS

According to Air Ticket Arena, more than 800 million seats go unsold around the world every year, with the model aiming to benefit airlines and customers alike. “For airlines, every empty seat is a complete loss, and for every traveller it is an opportunity,” said Kresimir Budinski , founder and managing director of AirTicketArena Ltd.

More information is available at the Air Ticket Arena website.