The following is from the Continental Airlines Internet web site regarding FareLock:
“FareLock allows you to hold your itinerary and fare for 72 hours or seven days, for a fee, and is available for Continental-operated flights only. So go ahead and book your flight while you complete and confirm your travel plans. Your FareLock will guarantee an available seat and the fare you were quoted at the time you booked your reservations.
“Choose FareLock when booking reservations at continental.com or with Continental Reservations and opt for a 72-hour or a seven-day hold. Then, return to complete your transaction at any time before the FareLock expires, or choose the auto-ticketing feature which tickets at the end of the FareLock period. FareLock fees, beginning at $5 for a 72-hour hold and $9 for a seven-day hold, will vary based on a number of factors such as the itinerary, number of days to departure and the length of the hold.”
This may actually be a beneficial fee, if booked properly. For example, if one finds a low airfare but is still not sure about booking it definitively, one can use FareLock to reserve that airfare for as low as $5.00 for a 72-hour hold. If the fare is not booked after all, the FareLock fee is lost. Compared to a $150.00 cancellation fee, this new fee can be a bargain.
It can also be a gamble: let us say that FareLock guarantees an airfare, but the airfare drops in price afterwards. One can book another reservation with or without using FareLock, but then must forfeit the FareLock fee on the original reservation. However, if the airfare decreases enough, one can still save money on the true price of the airfare while Continental Airlines profits on the FareLock fee it would otherwise not have obtained.
The bottom line is that although additional airline fees are usually not welcomed, FareLock could be advantageous to passengers if used wisely by saving passengers money and allowing more flexibility when booking a reservation.