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Cheap fares? Buy on Sunday, book 57 days in advance

October 31, 2014 Airfare Deals, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59The cheapest airline fares can be found 57 days before planned departure and the best day of the week to buy tickets is Sunday.

At least, that’s apparently the case in America, where the best day of the week to purchase tickets always used to be Tuesday. Times are changing.

The new information is included in a detailed report by the ticket-processing centre at Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), a service used by travel agents (both online and bricks-and-mortar) that represents half of all airline tickets sold in the US.

ARC examined a 19-month period of ticket sales (almost 130 million tickets) and discovered that the lowest average prices were found in the weekend: Sunday and then Saturday.

A story in the Wall Street Journal attributed the trend to changing habits and the impact of social media. The traditional pattern of discounting used to be fuelled by airline executives starting work on Monday by looking at how sales had gone over the previous week. They then applied discounts for the coming week if necessary to stimulate bookings. Historically, the deals were advertised in newspapers.

Nowadays, social media can help disseminate deals at any time and smartphones let people book anytime.

Some critics, however, claim that tickets only appear cheaper on weekends because most tickets booked then are leisure tickets, which are often cheaper anyway, so the average cost is reduced. Business travellers tend to book on weekdays and the tickets they book are on average more expensive.

In another revelation, ARC’s report also showed that most Americans don’t buy far enough in advance to get the best price on domestic airfares. Tech site Gizmodo says most Americans book about 30 days ahead, whereas the “sweet spot’ for domestic fares is actually 57 days before departure, when fares are on average 19% lower. For international flights, three months beforehand is better – from America, that is.

Written by : Peter Needham

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