smart spending

When to buy an airline ticket

 

 

[Voice of Kristin Arnold, Bankrate.com reporter]

Take VO: Before you take off ... you can land the best deal on your airfare. When you're talking tickets, timing is everything.  Here's the rundown ...

Departure: First and foremost, you need to buy your ticket a good 14 days in advance to score a good price.  To get the cheapest seats, before they sell out, buy a month or two in advance.  But don't buy too early ... since most airlines don't start releasing cheaper seats until 3-4 months in advance for domestic flights and 4-5 months before international travel.

[Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com talking] "Most people are procrastinators. They book inside of 30 days of departure. In fact, most tickets are sold inside those days.  If you think about it from an airlines perspective, they have to hold back these seats for high paying business travelers. They've got to have a lot of trust that those business travelers will come in the last 14 days. And so, you really need to be buying that ticket no later than 14 days before departure."

[Continue voice of Kristin Arnold] Business Class: Become business minded when buying your ticket. More airline tickets are sold from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday ... so airlines offer their best prices when people are more actively shopping.  Purchase volume is the highest on Tuesdays…which makes it the cheapest day of the week to buy.

Turbulence free Tuesday's: According to Farecompare.com, Tuesday is also one of cheapest days to fly ... along with Wednesday and Saturday ... because they are the slowest air travel days.  The cheapest time to fly is usually the first flight out in the morning and the last flight out at night.

[Rick Seaney talking on camera]"If you at least take half your trip on those days, you get half the benefit. So, you know, leave on a Wednesday come back on a Sunday when you want to come back. Or leave on a Tuesday and come back on a Saturday. You'll end up saving a lot of money."

[Continue voice of Kristin Arnold] Don't forget about the overnight "red eye" flights ... another cheap option as they are neither comfortable nor convenient.

Flight data:  Just like you use your computer to track ticket prices, so do the airlines. In fact, if an airline notices that cheap seat sales are picking up, they can instantly raise prices ... and drop them if sales are lagging. Since airfares can change all the time ... taking advantage of email alerts offered by a variety of travel websites and airlines can help you get the best airfare bargains.

TAG: For more ways to save on travel, visit the Bankrate.com Frugal Vacation Travel Guide. I'm Kristin Arnold.

« Back to Frugal Travel Guide 2011.

 

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