Cheap flights aren’t quite extinct, but they’re definitely making their way further up the endangered species list.
There’s a whole new category of fear of flying that’s sweeping the world faster than a modern day plague – fear of the inability to snag cheap tickets and thus end up paying way over the odds. Recent years have seen various fuel-duty hikes and airport tax increased send the price of airline tickets through the stratosphere and in many regions wiped out the very concept of cheap flights as a whole.
Well, the one shred of good news is that it seems millions of us are asking the same questions every day of every week, which to some extent have now been answered by popular airline comparison service CheapAir.com.
After studying a whopping 560 million consumer queries for last year covering at least 11,000 markets, the firm concluded that the best time to score cheap flights for domestic routes was on average about seven weeks prior to departure. And as far as last-minute bargains go, the same study proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the most expensive flights come to those booking just 24-hours before.
Second-worst was two days before departure, third-worst was three days and so on…notice something of a pattern emerging?
Roughly summarized, the research carried out by CheapAir.com concluded that the most expensive seats came through booking too early or too late.
The general pattern is one whereby flights tend to hit the market at pretty top-tier rates and then very slowly decrease in cost until they hit said seven-week prior-to-departure lows. After this, they then start climbing again for the desperate and needy who have no choice but to pay top-whack for their journeys.
And for international flights the pattern was largely similar, with the cheapest airfares surfacing in this instance around 12 weeks prior to departure and summarily climbing.
Of course, there are dozens of contributing factors to take into account according to the research firm, including peak hours, busy departure days, time of year and so on. However, the general advice overall for those intent on scoring cheap seats is to remain as flexible as possible and not to fall victim to panic-buying as soon as the flights go on sale, or waiting around for a last-second bargain which in all probability will never happen.