Practical rules to remember when you buy plane tickets:
Many factors will apply such as supply and demand which influence airfare prices. Competitions also take a big part in fare fluctuations. These are beyond any consumer's power to control. However, there are some reliable rules to follow when you want to find a good bargain on your flight. What are the rules?
Do you know that in the same plane from New York to Las Vegas or to any other major destinations, there could be many different fares? The person sitting next to you could have paid $100 more than you did but the one behind $50 less. How is this possible? With so much information available on the web, consumers sometimes get confused on how to use such information. In this section, we would like to help you with more sensible and practical guide.
These days, there are more options on the Internet. You can buy from more or less traditional online travel agents (OTAs) such as Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, and Travelocity or you can search the best fare from meta-search sites such as ITA Software's Matrix, Bing travel, Kayak, Google Flights, Momondo and buy directly from airlines.
Keep in mind that there are two things that all airlines want. They want each seat to be booked at the highest price but at the same time they want all the seats filled. Your fare price really depends on when you buy and from whom you buy.
We checked fares for a hypothetical flight from Washington DC to Los Angeles on 4 major meta-search sites and 4 major OTAs for both 9-day and 23-day advanced booking. Departure is scheduled on Wednesday returning the following Wednesday in July 2014.
9-days in advance
$460 - $507 (meta-search engines)
So, what is the best advice to save money on your next flight?
Our recommendation is "know what good price is & shop around". When you shop around remember these bargain tips. Here are some practical rules to consider when you want to find cheap plane tickets.
When you want to find cheap tickets, time is everything. The real cheap discount airline tickets often sell out very quickly. You might have to pay double the price if you book only a couple of days before your departing day. You may be able to save significantly by booking 21-day advance than booking at the last minute. Remember, last minute shoppers are usually business travelers who are willing to pay much higher price for their seats.
Do not expect good fares to stay the same. Sale fare price in the beginning of the sale may not be the same as the one toward the end of that sale. Let's say you came to our site and saw your favorite airline having a big holiday sale. You found a good deal to your destination and the deadline is weeks away. At this point, you may think the price will stay the same all the way until the offer ends, right? You're probably thinking, it's a sale so the price will stay the same. Well, our experience tells the story that the price you saw is not guaranteed to stay the same.
Stay over Saturday night.
You may be able to save
some money by staying over a Saturday night. Why? Business travelers are preferred and ideal customers to airlines because they book seats usually at a short-term notice and they must travel to take care of their business. They are usually willing to pay higher price to get to the destination in time. And many business travelers want to return in the same week usually by Saturday, at the latest. By avoiding times that business travelers prefer, you may save a lot. For example, departing on Monday and returning back in the same week such as on Thursday, Friday or Saturday may cost more than returning on Sunday. You may save even more by returning on Monday rather than returning on Sunday. So, the rule is stay over Saturday night or even the entire weekend. Also, if you are departing on weekends and coming back on the following week days, make sure to compare air fares for Saturday departure and Sunday departure. You may be surprised to find Saturday departure is less expensive in some cases. Again, the rule is staying over Saturday night.
Best Time to Fly: Use off-peak flights and travel on week days.
Lowest fares are usually found in mid-week days such as Tuesday or Wednesday when the traffic is light. This is because most leisure travelers like to get away on weekends. For example, departing Wednesday and returning on the following Wednesday may cost significantly less than Sunday-Sunday round trip. Off-hour flights such as late night or very early in the morning departure may also help.
Also fare prices tend to go lower in off seasons. Typical off seasons are mid-January through March and October through mid-December except for thanksgiving weekend. During holiday periods fares are expensive. However you might be able to get a discount plane tickets if you fly on the holiday itself (e.g. Christmas Day).
Best Day to Buy Your Tickets?
Traditionally, the day to buy tickets is Tuesday or early Wednesday. This is because airlines usually release sales late Monday or early Tuesday. However, you might try on Saturday as well.
Use alternate airports and routings.
In a large metropolitan area, the fare could depend on which airport you use for both departure and arrival. Make sure to include all the small local airports when you shop around. Some of these smaller airports are some times located conveniently closer to the metropolitan area. One such example is Midway vs O'Hare airports in Chicago area. So, to get the lowest fare, find out about alternate airports and routings and be flexible with your scheduling.
Airlines offer special sales for various reasons, but mostly driven by promotion or competition with other airlines. It is beneficial to be alert about special sales from airlines because if you are not aware of the sale, you may end up paying for the regular price for the same seat. It is wise to check out the various deals and sales on the web. New sales are announced almost everyday.
If you are going to buy only one-way ticket, always look into round trip tickets too. Sometimes, round trip airfares are simply cheaper if bought in advance.
Sometimes airlines offer special discount for certain groups of people such as senior citizens, students, military families, etc.