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Friday, February 24, 2012

How to save money on Airfare

Booking early is the surest way to find affordable air fare. Flight prices generally increase in intervals over the months and weeks prior to a departure date. Start searching for tickets as soon as possible. Both the average price and average price dispersion ( variation in prices across sellers of the same item ) increase as the departure date approaches; the rate of these increases also increases over time. 

Generally try and book your tickets 21 days out for the best price, and then certainly 15 days out. 

What's the absolute best time to purchase a ticket directly from the airlines? Turns out it's Wednesday from midnight to 1a.m. in the time zone of the airline's "home base." (For instance, Delta is headquartered in Atlanta)

Why? That's when the computer systems of most airlines get rid of the reserved but unbooked lower fare reservations.

You can hedge your bets further by scheduling flights during dips in demand such as mid-day (generally 10 am to 2 pm) or mid-week (Tuesday, Wednesday or early Thursday). And Increasingly, the price gap between one-stop and non-stop flights is widening, so always be sure to check both options.

Fig. 1 Depicts the price fluctuation of the cost of a ticket for the 90 days leading up to the flight.

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