Clients are always asking me when to book their airfare. Will the prices go up? Will they go down? Should I buy today, or wait for a better deal?
If I knew the answer to those questions, I would be very rich indeed! The best I can do is explain that airlines adjust their fares from day to day (and hour to hour) based on a very complex formula called “yield management”. Prices may seem to go up and down at will, but those adjustments are actually based on supply, demand, and what theri competitors (other airlines) are doing.
There are some very basic tips that I can provide — like the fact that Mon-Thurs fares tend to be better than weekend fares; that fares for peak holiday flights tend to only go UP and not down, and that those tickets should be bought as soon as possible; and that many airlines release sales on Tuesdays, so that tends to be a good day to check for fare decreases. Beyond that, I encourage clients to check fares regularly over the course of a couple of weeks and, once they see something they can live with, buy it and don’t look back.
A recent article from Smarter Travel addressed the question of when to book cheap summer airfare to Europe. Interestingly enough, even after an exhaustive five-week, multi-city survey, they came up with much the same advice. When you see a fare you like, just jump on it.
Unless you have a crystal ball 🙂