Cranky on the Web: When to Buy Tickets

Cranky on the Web, Fares

Landing the Best Airfare Is a Matter of TimingNerdWallet
I would love to see a statistic about just how many times an article about when to buy plane tickets has been written. Of course, the reason it gets written a lot is because people desperately want to know the answer. I’m always happy to participate in these, because there are often a lot of rumors that aren’t right.

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3 comments on “Cranky on the Web: When to Buy Tickets

  1. Personally, I’m less concerned about getting the absolute LOWEST price on airfare than I am about getting a reasonable price for an itinerary with a decent schedule.

    Like many leisure travelers, I have one or two routes that I travel on an annual basis, and have a rough idea of what a “good” fare is. I start watching fares for my Christmas flights in August, and get very anxious if I haven’t booked anything by the time Halloween starts approaching; for me, the priority is getting tickets before they sell out and before they become outrageous in price. On my usual itinerary (~1.5-2 hour, hub-hub route east of the Mississippi), I consider <$300 per R/T for high season travel pretty decent, and closer to $200 per R/T great, especially if those prices include checked and carryon bags. Once I find fares and schedules that I can live with, I pull the trigger and don't concern myself if the fares go down another $30 or $50.

  2. In any given time period there statistically HAS to be a cheapest time to purchase tickets in the aggregate. The problem is those studies are of little to no predictive value. And there are far too many variables for any of this to be useful for a specific trip.

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