Everyone uses their own timing strategies when it comes to buying airfare — too close to the flight and you’re bound to pay out the nose, too many months in advance and you’ll see that same fare drop in price. A new study puts some science on the issue, coming up with the magic number of six weeks before a flight as the best time to buy.
The L.A. Times cites a study by Airlines Reporting Corp., a company involved in ticket transactions between airlines and travel agents. They took numbers from millions of transaction over the last four years and found that passengers buying six weeks before they fly paid about 6% below the overall average fare for the country.
“We’re not advising people to purchase tickets only at this time during the cycle as there is no guarantee they will receive the lowest price of the year,” said Chuck Thackston, managing director of data and analytics for the firm. “It is just that the data indicates we have seen this pattern over the last four years.”
And as anyone who’s ever had to buy a ticket a few days before their trip might know, the study did show that prices jumped sharply a week before travel. If you wait until the day you’ve gotta go, the price can be as much as 40% higher than the average price.
Adjust your strategies accordingly, then — or if you’ve got a method that works, by all means, stick to it.