Insider Guide to Best Airline Ticket Prices
Boy do I wish I had a crystal ball for airline ticket prices. I checked in with my airline “go to” expert and her response was, “Predicting airfares is like predicting the stock market – it can be a bit chaotic with the fluctuations. Airlines load fares 3-15 times per day, every day, 365 days a year.” Yikes!! How can we begin to figure out the best time to book?
When to Buy International Tickets: Business class fares usually have a good, advance purchase 45-60 days out and there have been opportunities for last minute fares being offered at a great price point. I can attest to that. I booked a business class flight at roughly $3500 per person round trip for clients a week in advance of their trip when $11,000 per person was the norm. Don’t expect to see that on a regular basis.
FareCompare.com offers information from their studies that indicate between 1 ½ months (consistent with my expert) and up to 5 ½ months may provide you with decent airfares.
When to Buy Domestic Tickets: Consider shopping for your tickets between 1 month to 3 months before your trip.
Best Day To Purchase Tickets: A study by Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation looked at billions of flights in 2016 and their data indicated the best day to buy airline tickets is Sunday. Compare that to CheapAir.com’s Annual Airfare Study that indicates that Tuesday at 3PM Eastern is the best time. They say that many airlines release sales pricing early Tuesday morning. I’ve had good experience on both days. If only I had that crystal ball, right?? If you’re researching a specific city pair, delete your cache – algorithms monitor activity and you may see price increases due to your interest in certain routes.
Best days to fly: The cheapest days to fly are Tuesdays and Wednesdays for domestic flights, according to FareCompare.com. Business travelers are usually traveling on the front and back ends of the business week, so there is usually less competition for tickets at those times.
Summary: There are many variables when it comes to booking air travel. Depending on the time of year, destination, popularity of a specific destination or airline, fuel prices, and so many other variables, it is difficult to provide you a predictable model for determining the best time to purchase airfare.
Recommendation: Consider signing up for fare alerts. AirfareWatchdog.com will let you know when prices change. It doesn’t rely on computer systems, rather it relies on people to vet deals. I highly recommend reaching out to a professional travel advisor. We have resources that may be able to find airline deals not available to the general public.
When you are ready to book your travel, I can help. With my access to top air specialists, I can find the best pricing for when you want to fly.