Flight ticket prices change rapidly and are seemingly unpredictable. Is there a cheapest time to fly? When’s the best time to buy your flight? There’s a secret used by flight “hackers” (professional airfare deal finders) to predict the fare in the future, therefore buying at the lowest point possible. How can you do it? You only need to know two things: the basic airline pricing formula, and a little bit of economics. I’ll provide both in this quick tutorial.
Airline Pricing Secrets
On every flight, there are generally several passengers who paid so little, that the airline is losing money flying them. So why would the airline sell a ticket that loses them money? Because they lose more money if a seat flies empty than if they sold a ticket at a loss. How do you buy these tickets? You need to estimate the best time to buy your flight, and economics is a great way to do that.
When thinking about economics, most people think of money, banks, or other similar things. Economics boils down to just a straightforward definition, and that is that economics is the study of scarcity. Airplane seats are a scarce resource, and there’s a set supply of them and a varying demand. The unique thing about airplane seats compared to a physical good, is that there’s a “time limit.” If they don’t sell enough seats, there’ll be empty ones. As mentioned before, an airline would rather fly someone for a small loss, than nobody for a large loss. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
Think of the people who usually fly on airplanes the most, they’re generally either business travelers, wealthy, or maybe even both. That means that they aren’t shopping for the lowest price generally. Airlines know this, so their flight fare formulas generally compensate for this. If they can get enough business travelers to overpay for their seat, they can then afford to fly with fewer seats sold at a loss. You need to do the opposite of these passengers to buy your flight at the best time.
Your goal is to look like a price-conscious shopper, not a price-blind shopper, and luckily flight fare formulas have a set of patterns to catch these conscious shoppers.
The most important thing when buying a ticket is time. Generally, price-blind people buy way in advance, or last minute. You need to be right in the middle. That’s when prices are the lowest. Generally, that spot is 1-3 months before the flight. Why is this the sweet spot? If you’re buying a plane ticket a week before it takes off, it’s most likely an emergency. Airlines guess that if you’re having an emergency, you’ll pay whatever it costs to get where you need to be on time. If you’re booking 6 months in advance, airlines generally assume that you have very set plans at that date, so if it costs more, it’s not a big deal.
Buy your plane tickets one to three months before the trip’s starting day. Think like an economist, and discover other secret tricks and deals.
I’m Still Confused!
Fear not, Worlditect Travel will help you find the cheapest possible flight to your destination. We’re a team of professional “flight hackers” who have inside knowledge of many of these pricing formulas and can help you find the best deals. Submit a flight request today! If we don’t find you the cheapest flight to your destination, our service is 100% free.