When going on vacation the process of organising all the different elements can be rather complicated. The act of purchasing plane tickets is one of those things that need to be done ahead of time. But what exactly does ahead of time mean? Recent research by the airlines reporting corporation has yielded an approximate timeline that should help the traveller in all of us find a ticket at a price better suited to your budget.
Before the search begin:
Of course before the search can begin a few choices have to be made. Certain details such as the date and destination of the flight can greatly influence the range of prices that can be found. Although it is not always easy to remain flexible about the date and location of a trip, promotions and special deals can greatly reduce the cost of travelling to your final destination. Without looking at special rates, like those available to students, or advantages such as frequent flyer miles great saving can be found through the use of alternative routes. These flights consist of multiple stops and will increase the amount of time spend in the plane. Factors that could be overlooked depending on how urgently you need to arrive at your final destination or to what degree you enjoy the experience of flying above the clouds. Another choice which has become more frequently available recently is the purchase of your tickets through budget airlines that make use of secondary airports slightly further from the city centre.
When should I book my ticket?
Although airlines try their best to avoid visible trends in their pricing strategies the aforementioned study managed to distinguish certain tendencies that even the biggest airlines were unable to hide with their minute by minute fluctuations in price. According to the report the sweet spot for purchasing your plane ticket varies depending on its nature. This means that for domestic flights the cheapest tickets can be purchased at least 2 months before the date of departure, while for international flights the lowest fares can be found 6 month before the departure. More precisely the lowest ticket prices can be found 57 and 171 days prior to the date of departure for domestic and international flights respectively.
In addition to the lowest average prices being found a few months prior to departure, the day of departure and return can greatly reduce ticket prices. When considering long-haul flights the greatest savings can be found with flights that depart on Thursday and return on Monday rather than weekend flights which are highly demanded. For short-haul flights the lowest prices can be found when departing on Saturday and returning on Tuesday. On average a ticket booked on Tuesday will be cheaper than those purchased the other days of the week, due to the release of special fares, but not to a great extent, and the best results can be obtained through searching repeatedly.
Finally last minute booking can lead to reduced prices but this does not apply to all destinations and the most significant reductions can be found when booking a flight plus a hotel/car rental together. These deals, however, are rare and rather risky.