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"When is the best time to buy airfare"

In the age of computers, it would seem unlikely one can 'beat the system', with any significant degree of reliability or regularity.

Just buy it when it gets into your budget's comfort range.

Asking 'how high is up', is one of the few less answerable questions, but the margin is narrow.

Posted by
6567 posts

Airfares are products of supply and demand. And all airlines have analysts are trying to fill up every plane in order to be profitable. Airline analysts are still people, and they do make mistakes.
We watch the posted airfares closely to come up with a "normal" price for the time we want to go. And we watch the calendar on to see the cheapest days of the week to fly.
When an airfare drops substantially below their "normal" prices, we jump on it. For example, we've got a great non-stop to London and a connecting flight into Berlin round trip on a legacy air carrier for $411 round trip the end of March. I thought I was doing good until my next door neighbor caught a flight for $362. I'm still happy.

Posted by
6716 posts

Airline analysts are still people, and they do make mistakes.

I'm afraid that a lot of folks on this forum don't understand how airline fares are priced. Like the article states, pricing is dynamic and set by sophisticated algorithms that can reprice offerings on the fly multiple times a day or series of days. No human could compete with a computer's ability to solve complicated math problems like those involving optimization. So you don't need a (human) analyst to fill up a plane or generate "x" level of profit, it's all done by machine learning.

Posted by
3533 posts

Hyperdynamic pricing? My lowly brain versus a system that is smarter than Vegas? A price change as the eye flickers?

Good luck trying to beat, or even predict, that system. I had to look up the spelling of algorithm. So I am just along for the ride, and probably you too. That's the only bet I have a a chance of winning.

Posted by
24 posts

I have found that buying early and choosing the non-refundable/non-changeable versions of the tickets gets me the best prices. I bought my non-refundable tickets to Paris a year in advance and got a great price (plus no one was sold out!) - a little over half of what they are selling now, 3 months before flight time. The problem is that there have been several schedule changes since then! I have a post in the France section telling all about it and other posters have left some good comments. Also, you probably already know this, but when browsing for airfare, use the incognito or private mode or the airlines will jack up the price of anything you look at more than once.