July 20, 2024
Now Boarding for KC / bwb-images

Have you ever noticed that the price of an airline ticket tends to shift?   Heck – it’s a moving target! One day you can check on the ticket price from Point A to Point B and you will get one price.  A week later you check and the price for the same ticket from Point A to Point B has changed!  What’s the deal?  Airlines vary ticket prices according to demand.  If they anticipate that the flight will be full they raise the ticket price.  If they have lots of open seats then the price is reduced.  Airlines are in the business of making money and they want to A) fill all their seats, and B) have passengers pay as much as possible for their seats.  It’s a balancing act.  Which raises the question – how can a passenger find the Lowest Price Air Tickets?

Passengers and airlines play a game of cat and mouse with ticket pricing.  Airlines move the prices around trying to ensure a full flight and maximizing per seat ticket fees.  Passengers watch the ticket prices and try to “pounce” on the ticket when it is at the lowest point.  As with so many things – timing is everything.

What is the best time to “pounce” and buy that ticket?  Recently the Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) released some information that can help answer that question.  They analyzed airline data for 2011 and came up with some very interesting findings.  Based on averages of advanced ticket purchases (120 days advance or fewer)  for all domestic flights ($80 billion dollars worth of tickets – 144 million transactions) , their results show that the average ticket price was $358.30.  Further, prices varied considerably over the 120 days prior to flight. Prices dip below average about 98 days prior to flight and stay below average until about 21 days prior to flight when there is a Sharp price increase that climbs steadily until date of departure. So where is the sweet spot?  What’s the best time to “pounce”?  Chuck Thackston, managing director of data and analytics at ARC is quoted as saying, ” Although low fares are available over the 120-day cycles in 2011 that we analyzed, the vast majority of tickets costing below the average were purchased about six weeks before the flight date.” At that point the average ticket fee was about 5.8% less than the average price.

So – there you have it.  Another piece of information to consider when planning your next travel adventure.  Six weeks, according to ARC data, looks like a good time to consider buying those airline tickets. (ARC Article) As with all such analyses, however, results are based on past performance, as well as how the data was analyzed. Who knows what the future may hold.  As they say – your mileage (or price savings?) may vary.


Plan Ahead……..And Enjoy The Adventure!

Dr.B, The Photo Trekker