Airline fares fluctuate
Airline ticket prices fluctuate like a diabolo – seemingly without any system or reason behind it.
According to this article from the Wall Street Journal the fares cycle during the week.
Buy your airline ticker on Tuesday as prices creep up during the week as seats get sold. Over the weekend the fares aren’t actively managed as managers are out (on their cheap flight?) and the automatic fare system rules.
When the managers return on Monday they will issue the new prices late Monday evening or Tuesday morning. Apparently the best time to buy is 3 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday.
Departure and return day
Your departure day has even more influence than the moment of buying.
The cheapest departure days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.
As holiday travelers want to get back from a weekend trip on Sunday, latest on Monday, whereas business travelers will need to leave on Sunday to have the meetings starting on Monday or those who don’t want to fly in their weekend leave on Monday.
For long weekenders the weekend rush starts on Thursday and tops on Friday, whereas businessmen want to get home for the weekend on Thursday, latest Friday.
In some cases staying over the weekend can result in lower fares probably to have customers on the Monday morning flying back while avoiding the busy Friday afternoon rush back home before the weekend.
Question is: what to do during the weekend without family or acquaintances?
Last minute or late bookings
Last minute promotions a hard to use for the traveling businessman as he has appointments and other schedules to meet.
Late bookings up to 2 weeks before departure can save you money.
This depends very much on the airline or low cost carrier as they have different optimizing heuristics in their system.
Obsolete air miles
Due to the complexities and the imposed hidden rules air miles have always been difficult to use. You can save hundred thousands of air miles and then find out you can’t use them on a specific flight at a specific moment due to a reason beyond your imagination.
Book on Tuesday – fly on Tuesday or Wednesday
As a rule of thumb:
- Plan your meetings on Tuesdays or Wednesdays: letting you fly in and fly out at the lower fares.
- Start looking for airfares on Tuesday morning in order to book on Tuesday afternoon latest.
Be smart and have happy cheaper bookings!