Reader Tom was all set to buy a ticket on Virgin America when all of a sudden the fare he thought was locked in shot up 33%. The machine told him his reservation had expired. Tom tried redoing the purchase several times, clearing his cookies, changing browsers, only to continue to be denied by Richard Branson’s faceless automoton army. So then he cleared his cookies and then rerouting his signal through another computer so to Virgin America it looks like a different user is trying to buy the ticket (in technical terms, he rerouted his traffic through a SOCKS proxy server on the West Coast). Shazam, he was able to get the ticket at the old price. Whether the deal had expired because he dawdled too long, or whether he was only able to get it because it looked like he was coming from the West Coast and the fare was related to the time of day, Tom felt jerked around. If this happens to you, here’s a how-to on using proxy servers.
By April 2, 2008