You've done your homework on plane fares, but, when seeing the cost begin to climb, panic and purchase. Two hours later, the price is back down again even lower than before. I feel your pain, but don't slam your keyboard and give up. Do something about it.
That's right, you can actually save on airfare after booking. Both Expedia and Travelocity have 24-hour windows on their low-fare guarantees, and Orbitz's Price Assurance only applies if someone buys that fare at a lower price. But booking directly with the airline can allow even more changes after the fact.
While I wouldn't recommend torturing yourself with fare checks everyday from purchase to takeoff, it makes sense to monitor the price 24–48 hours after you book, just in case. To see a chart of fees and refund amounts by airline,
|Alaska||Refund fare difference, $100 discount code, same day as booking||$0|
|American||Refund fare difference, $50 promo code, same day as booking||$150|
|Continental||Refund fare difference, $100 travel certificate, same day as booking||$150|
|Delta||Refund fare difference, $100 travel voucher, same day as booking||$150|
|JetBlue||Refund fare difference into a JetBlue travel voucher||$0|
|Southwest||Refund fare difference into Southwest travel credit; no same day restriction||$0|
|United||Refund and $100 travel certificate same day as booking||$150|
|US Airways||Refund minus $150 change fee; no same day restriction||$150|