The common strategy that is recognized among various airline operators to decide ticket price is that the airline operators react to traveler behavior and consequently raise or lower ticket prices to maximize revenues. If and when travelers change their behavior, for example, if a certain number of business travelers start to book flights on Tuesday rather than Thursday, airline operators tweak their pricing tactics accordingly. It must be noted by travellers who want to book airline tickets at the ‘right’ price that there are a lot of factors that go into the decision of ticket pricing by operators, and that international and domestic ‘timings’ may vary.
Airlines have many offers running at any given point in the year. Whether it’s booking your tickets at the last minute or whether a traveller books four months in advance, ticket prices may vary based on holiday seasons or notable occasions. The focus on economical tickets is so intense that one popular website has considered 7.5 billion airfares among a hundred popular routes among the world to arrive at the ‘right’ time and the ‘right’ price for airline tickets.Survey Sample
Cozmo Travel presents survey results with the sample demographic being India and Indian airline usage patterns. A survey by a popular flight search app revealed 72 per cent of travellers from India did not know the best time to book air tickets for holidays. 31 per cent of respondents correctly assume booking more than 12 weeks in advance is the best time to book flights. 11 per cent feel that booking last minute is the key to getting a good deal.
Related Survey Results
Continuing with the survey results, there were a few other revelations about ticket prices and the right time for booking tickets:
- Ticket booking for Bali and Kuala Lumpur are best secured 25 weeks prior to departure. But both destinations receive most bookings two weeks prior to departure when flight prices witness a surge of 16 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively.
- Travellers can save 17 per cent on fares to Amsterdam if they book 24 weeks in advance.
- Budapest offers flexible weeks to travellers for getting the cheapest fares. Travellers can book their tickets 12, 20 or 23 weeks before departure and still save 13 per cent on the flight ticket.
- The best time to book for Madrid is 15 weeks in advance.
- For economical airfare, September and December are the recommended months to travel.
- February is ideal to visit Amsterdam and Budapest as travellers can save 8 per cent and 9 per cent respectively on air tickets.
- April is ideal for Bali, where travellers can save up to 10 per cent on fares.
- Travellers can book tickets in September to Kuala Lumpur, to save 18 per cent on regular fares.
- There could be a saving of 17 per cent on regular air fare if travellers book for Madrid in November.
Ideal Time FrameAnother notable airline ticket booking website in the United States believes that it has determined the optimum number of days before a flight when tickets are at their cheapest.
The answer happens to be ‘54 days’!
Another travel website claims it has monitored a substantial number of flights last year, exceeding four million, and the analysis takes into account ticket price variation from 320 days in advance right till a day in advance.
These are a few results from the study conducted:
- Contrary to popular belief, airlines definitely did not reduce ticket prices to unload empty seats. This suggests the fact that a not so ideal time to book a flight is the day before departure, with two days before the flight coming second on the list. This pattern repeated itself until 13 days in advance.
- Travellers purchasing air tickets a considerable amount of time, could be paying more for the ticket as well. This is mainly attributed to the concept that airlines allow passengers to book tickets 11 months in advance, but for about four months of that period air fares may remain static as a majority of operators may not want to promote their flights this far ahead of time.
Hence the ‘optimum booking timeframe’ for the lowest possible prices, according to this study, is between 104 to 29 days before the flight.
Related Study Results
In addition, according to the website’s booking statistics in 2013:
- About 34% purchased tickets within the known ‘optimum booking timeframe’.
- About 61% of travellers bought tickets within 28 days of travel, which was too late to get the best fare.
- About 36% of travellers waited until inside of two weeks.
The website does admit the 54th day rule varies depending on destination, with its research done on mainly on bookings made from one particular country. So, Cozmo Travel wants you to note that if travellers are planning to travel to other regions from the Middle East, this ‘mini – cheat sheet’ should provide a general idea on the best time to book.
Optimum Booking Timeframe – UAE
- Europe: 151 days before your flight
- Asia: 129 days before your flight
- The Caribbean: 101 days before your flight
- Mexico: 89 days before your flight
- Latin America: 80 days before your flight
Citing an additional example, the fare for a flight was altered an average of 71 times between its opening and the day it takes off. This suggests an average price change of every four and half days at a rate of $33, which could be higher or lower than the opening price.
It’s impressive to note that the website obtained these results after it had surveyed data from 921 million airfares from 2.9 million trips.
“The most important rule is fairly obvious: don’t wait until the last minute, as that rarely works out. But beyond that, you also want to be careful not to buy too early. I always suggest that travelers check fares early and often and get familiar with the market. Then, when you see a good deal pop up, grab it, because it likely won’t last very long.”
Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir
Airfare analyst supports his advice, yet goes on to say that there really may not be ever an ‘Optimum Booking Timeframe’ to buy tickets.
“Airlines often try to catch their competitors napping by launching unadvertised sneak sales on each other,” he states. “I’ve seen it happen on Wednesday night, and I’ve seen it happen on Sunday mornings.”
So no matter what the studies or surveys may suggest, it all depends on chance. But with a few tips and tricks and due research, travellers can find the best tickets on offer. by being in the constantly in touch with their travel agency. Of course, if travelling at certain times of the year such as Easter or Christmas, holiday-makers don’t have much of a chance in finding a cheap deal no matter what the tricks suggest.
Emirates Airlines Case StudyA good rule of thumb: First, you have to think in terms of flight distance. For example, a flight from New York to Dubai is over three times as far as a flight from New York to Los Angeles, so an appropriate airfare deal for a New York to Dubai flight would be about four times the price of a typical $400 coast-to-coast airline ticket.
Unlike flights to Europe, where mid-week rates can be about $80 lower for a round-trip, as compared to flying on weekends, flights to the Middle East don’t have such big ‘day-of-departure’ differences.
However, most of the lowest Emirates fares have a Saturday night stay requirement (and a four month maximum stay requirement) so you should plan to enjoy your destination for at least seven nights to get the cheapest ticket prices.
On the Emirates Dubai route, airfare becomes expensive for travellers in early June through late August and during the three weeks before Christmas. The lowest fares on this route are for travel in November and again beginning the day after Christmas through the end of March.
Even though there is a dizzying amount of technology at our fingertips in terms of big data analytics, the question of when to book airline tickets remains unanswerable because of the variations in airline strategies, routes and seasons. Agreed that it’s wise to hunt down ‘right’ priced tickets during the 50 to 100 day window in advance, and sure, do try to remember to search for flights especially over the weekends. Additionally travellers can also be on the lookout for better prices on Tuesdays and Wednesdays too, because that is when sales could pop up. Consulting historical pricing data and airfare price predicting tools is a recommendation and just don’t travellers need to note that they may not get to pay the same bargain fare they got even a year ago. Cozmo Travel advices our customers to pay attention to airfare sale-tracking services like ‘airfarewatchdog’, but do note that ideal deals are often for routes and days selected by operators and may not work for your travel needs. Perhaps wisest of all, use an airfare tracking service like that of ‘Yapta’, which will alert travellers if and when a flight on your route and dates has reached a desired price threshold. All we have to say is that travellers need to be realistic with the kind of fare they can expect nowadays.
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We are your ideal travel partner when it comes to traveling to destinations from Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Cozmo Travel is a one stop shop for economical travel plans and itineraries, flight tickets, UAE visa assistance and hotel bookings within UAE and across the world. We welcome you to read other articles in our large collection of blog entries, not only to be informed about the wonderful destinations waiting for you, but to approach Cozmo Travel for help with getting to these awe-inspiring destinations.
Cozmo Travel LLC is an esteemed member of the Air Arabia Group, and in 2010, commenced operations as a full-fledged IATA certified travel agency in Sharjah. Cozmo Travel currently holds a portfolio of 39 branches in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) with 26 branches operating out of the UAE, seven branches in Saudi Arabia, three in Qatar, two in Kuwait and one in Bahrain.