Cheap Flight FAQs
When should I book? What day should I fly? How do I get the lowest price?
The same questions crop up time and again, and there never seems to be definitive answers – it sometimes seems like a moving target out there when it comes to booking a flight. BUT, I’ve tried to amalgamate the words of wisdom from a few big travel brains into my post here.
First off, let’s look at price jumps. Airlines use “dynamic pricing” a practice of setting prices based on demand. They don’t just price flights according to the time of day or their popularity, but on how interested you seem to be in a particular flight. They know this via the cookies stored in your browser that keep track of your browsing behaviour – little files of data created by a website, so you don’t have to fill in the same details over and over again when you visit a site. It’s the more persistent cookies you have to shut down. To avoid this, you need to disable the cookies, use your friend’s laptop or use either Skyscanner.net and Momondo.com, both sites that don’t hike prices in this way.
With regards to shopping, book on the weekends, because the traffic online drops way down as the business world stops looking for cheap last-minute fares. As well, airlines post their best deals on the weekend, because they know that’s when the bargain-hunters are hunting. Tuesday is also not a bad day to book, because that’s the day airlines try to offload seats that didn’t sell on the weekend.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are still the cheapest days to actually fly. This is also related to the volume of business traffic on all the other days. Maybe your long weekend away is Saturday to Tuesday? Being flexible in this way saves money, and the difference in cost can sometimes be enough to warrant an extra night in a hotel.
Wondering when to press Book Now? The number of days in advance that you should book varies from expert to expert, but the nice people at Frommer’s suggest these below as a benchmark:
- 57 days for domestic flights
- 77 Caribbean
- 90 Americas
- 140 EU
- 160 Asia
These are all more than you thought, aren’t they? Last-minutey people: Change your wasteful ways, and start saving.