When is Best Time to Buy Low Cost Air Tickets?

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fountainhall

When is Best Time to Buy Low Cost Air Tickets?

Post by fountainhall » Sun Aug 22, 2010 3:56 pm

There's an interesting little item in today's Guardian newspaper in the UK abut the optimum time to purchase low cost airline tickets.

"It is a question that anyone booking a holiday or business trip will have asked themselves countless times: exactly when is the best time to buy an advance plane ticket to fly at the cheapest price? Leave it too late and prices shoot up, and there is a danger the flight will be fully booked. But book too early and you run the risk that plans may change and you will be out of pocket if you don't travel or have to alter the flight.

"Help is at hand. An economist, Makoto Watanabe, has calculated that the optimum time to buy an airline ticket is eight weeks in advance of flying.

"His yet-to-be-published findings also suggests that airline tickets are cheaper when purchased in the afternoons, rather than the mornings, prompting him to speculate that airlines are assuming business travellers will book their tickets at work in the morning on the company account, whereas leisure travellers are more likely to book from home in the afternoon.

"The eight-week result stems from work published in the latest edition of the Economic Journal in which Watanabe and his colleague, Marc Möller, offer intimidating equations such as ∏A = gUG + min(k - g, (1 - g)(1 - r)) as part of the complex formula, where ∏ equals profit, that determines advance ticket purchases."

EIGHT-WEEK RULE

Prices for EasyJet flight booked in advance as of 21 August
London Stansted (STN) to Munich (MUC)
1 day = £82.99
1 week = £98.99
2 weeks = £62.99
8 weeks = £19.99
12 weeks = £25.99

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/au ... -week-rule

pong
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Re: When is Best Time to Buy Low Cost Air Tickets?

Post by pong » Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:04 pm

as seems usually the case with these ''findings'' they hold only for a special small segment or specific route. And as with most things in life-there is NO absolute rule for anyone everytime. Which about anyone with some experience will have known already.
I have followed return fares/long stay to BKK/Thai (and I assume most forumreaders will be more interested in that as EZ to Espana) from both DE=Germany, UK=GB and sometimes also other EUR-airports. What matters most is SEASON-low or high-or mid. Most of us are-give or take a few days-tied to some dep.date-and fares for that date have consistently crept up-on all airlines etc. This from comparing sites like opodo, travelsupermarket or netflights, with some special offers checked at the airline-website.
The main exception was for the really low season; from about now=late aug. till late sept.-then suddenly seats are dumped by airline 1-and all follow suit.
Air-bookingagents usually tell, that shortly after 0.01 more cheap seats become available-those were kept on hold but ''given back'' or simply not paid up.
To me it rather seems that weekends tend to offer higher fares as weekdays. Again: it may differ quite a bit between low cost sort hauls and intercontinental full-service airlines.
And not everyone uses $$-and if they do, they will specify what brand of $ that would be. Here we have €€€€!!! And this computer has no visible sign for GBP.

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Re: When is Best Time to Buy Low Cost Air Tickets?

Post by Jun » Sun Aug 22, 2010 8:32 pm

Very good question.
Last year I booked Eva air flights for travel in December, on 9 Sept for £548, including premium economy on the outbound leg.
Currently they want £704 for economy with similar flight dates this year.
Fares seem to fluctuate markedly from day to day, although booking in the first half of June would have secured a £450 price.

I'm hanging on for sub £600, on the presumption that the economy & oil prices have not picked up that much since last year..

Air Asia want £583 for London==>KL. Not an option unless you actually want to visit Malaysia.

Jomtienbob

Re: When is Best Time to Buy Low Cost Air Tickets?

Post by Jomtienbob » Sun Aug 22, 2010 8:39 pm

My last trip from Florida to Bangkok was purchased 1 month prior to departure, and cost just shy of $1500. A friend of mine has to make the reverse trip in less than two weeks, and the same consolidator can only come up with a "bargain" fare of $2000.

Ouch.

fountainhall

Re: When is Best Time to Buy Low Cost Air Tickets?

Post by fountainhall » Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:01 pm

Jun wrote:Very good question.
Air Asia want £583 for London==>KL. Not an option unless you actually want to visit Malaysia.
Unless Air Asia X's timetable has changed, their problem is the flights from London arrive in KL too late for any connections. So you are stuck with at least one overnight. That said, their angled flat bed business class seats look quite a bargain if you book early enough.

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Re: When is Best Time to Buy Low Cost Air Tickets?

Post by Jun » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:40 am

Sales pitches often are trying to create a "buy now" imperative to close the deal, such as one day only specials.

I wonder if airline tickets prices are deliberately ramped up and down to create the same effect.

For example, Mr Punter monitors a ticket price for a few days: £499, £550, £599, £600, £710..... then does he feel pressure to buy before it gets too expensive?

Or when the price drops back to £550, do they get a flurry of sales to people worried about the price going up again?

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Re: When is Best Time to Buy Low Cost Air Tickets?

Post by whitedesire » Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:10 am

That's quite strange, because whilst the business model for all cheap airlines is basically the same, I notice that on AirAsia, you can get seats cheap right up till about, in some cases, a week before, the ticket is still cheap. It may be that the ethos is the same, but that people leave it till last minute to buy tickets on AirAsia. But I certainly have found bargains to be had a week before.

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