Basically, it’s all about timing. Research shows that Tuesdays at 3 p.m. ET are the best days (though Wednesdays are a close second). Why? Because airlines like to discount the tickets and show a new sale for the week starting on Mondays (usually the day when you get your fare alert emails), and then discount competitors like Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, etc, try to match them on Tuesdays. By Thursday and through the weekends, the sales have mostly expired, so don’t bother fretting if you need to buy a last-minute flight late in the week. You’re going to pay top dollar no matter how you look at it or what time of day you buy.
Read the entire Wall Street Journal article I’m quoting: “Whatever You Do, Don’t Buy an Airline Ticket On … ” by Scott McCartney here.
“In addition, airlines don’t manage their inventory as actively on weekends, so if cheap seats sell on some flights, prices automatically jump higher. Fare analysts may decide later to offer more seats at cheaper prices, but not until they come back to work on Monday, according to airline pricing executives. So a ticket can be $199 certain days and $499 other days even months ahead of a flight. “
But apparently, in the near future things may not be as predictable. . . (Actually, I’m still getting over the shock that flights were somewhat predictable!)
“Some airlines say that social-media outlets, such as Twitter and Facebook, are beginning to disrupt the cycle. Some airlines are sending sales out directly to customers at all hours, making pricing far less predictable each day. Or carriers may tweet an hour-long sale. As a result, airlines can match competitors more nimbly, sneak sales under the radar of competitors and send deeply discounted offers anytime to customers who sign up for fare alerts.
On many airlines you can customize a travel agent type of thing. I have my favorite destinations and closest airports flagged as well as alerts set up to send me an e-mail if prices drop to a certain level. (and believe me, I have some ridiculous thing like a $150 roundtrip). I know I shouldn’t look any time soon for some major deal to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico (though it did work for our honeymoon!) or some dreamy destination like the Caymans, but then again, you never know!
- Go where the deals take you! Last minute travel +
- Know when to buy or wait based on a pattern of price fluctuations for flights -what a stress eliminator! AND it doesn’t track your trip wish like the other sites- ever notice how the prices just seems to increase with every page refresh on some sites?