Do flight prices drop?

Hi All, I have monitoring flights to Rome and back home from Paris and they have gone up by over a 100 a person overnight. Do they ever go back down? I am new to this and trying to figure out when to get tickets. Thanks!

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
611 posts

I just checked and had I followed The Middle Seat guy's advice, another $542 X 2 would have left my bank account with a less attractive routing for our upcoming trip to Europe. I track prices maybe nine months before departure and buy when it's a good one, usually about 5-6 months out. Be flexible and creative in crafting alternatives in airports, sequence, etc.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

You have some time to monitor fares for a while without rushing in right this instant. As others have said, set a price that's right for you in your head...maybe that was the fare before it went up by $100 per ticket, and maybe it's the new fare after it went up, but decide on a fare you would be okay with. Monitor fares for a while using your favorite websites. When you see your happy fare (or something very close to it), buy it right now. Don't waste time calling your travel partner...your fare could be gone when you go back to purchase. Double check the airline site directly, and buy your tickets now. Then, you're done. No need to ever go back and look again to see if it ever goes down more or up more...it doesn't matter now. I actually broke my own rule and went back a couple of days ago for an upcoming trip only because I wanted to make back up plans in case a connection is missed (2 tight connections before transpacific leg). Anyway, the fare was up over $300 per ticket compared to when I purchased a few weeks back. In fairness, I got an unbelievable deal...wouldn't have been surprised if they were up by $500 per ticket, which would have been normal for this itinerary (based on prior experience with this itinerary and monitoring fares for a while).

Posted by Joel
Tempe, AZ, USA
841 posts

Tiffany - If I had the answer to your question I would rule the world. You don't say when you are looking to travel. Keep in mind that summer time is the most expensive time for air travel. I normally start checking airfares for when/where I want to travel about 9 months out. When I see an airfare that I am comfortable with I purchase my ticket and never look back.

Posted by Maggie
Boscombe, Dorset, UK
960 posts

I can't say for sure, but here in the UK they seem to just go up- unless the airline has a seat sale, which is rare, but does happen.
Booking flights here, I get them as early as possible.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10883 posts

Unfortunately the answer is yes and maybe. Fares go up and down depending what the computers say or do. There are lots of myths about sweet spots at 60 days out, 90 days out, or the week before. Sometimes that is true and many times not. Generally buying in the midweek seems to be somewhat validate. Obviously being flexible on your travel dates and day of helps. Flying on the weekend can be more expensive. Buying an airline ticket is lot like buying stock. While you would like to buy at the lowest possible price, that rarely happens. You should set a price that you are happy with and buy it when it is close. There are much better places to save money in your travel budget than airline tickets.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7209 posts

In theory, oil prices are supposed to fall 20 percent (but I've heard that before). If that happens, it allows airlines to lower their fares (because fuel is a big chunk of their costs). The middle seat guy at Wall Street Journal says the general rule is to buy domestic tickets two months in advance and international three months ahead. Unfortunately general rules generally don't work every time. Right now, the thing to do is search lots of options - flip-flop your itinerary (you are flying open jaw, right?), alternate airports, days of week, times of day, slip a couple days one way or the other, etc. - to see what you can find. Set up a ton of fare alerts for the options. Over the next few weeks, you will get an idea what the going price is. If you see something significantly better, jump on it. If not, wait and buy when you see a great deal or you reach that three month range. Aside: the last word in your question title, dr*p, gets deleted by this site when I try to use it.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

You still have plenty of time, so don't get too nervous (they haven't even advertised fall sales yet). The best thing to do is to keep monitoring fares (use itasoftware.com if you want to see how prices fluctuate a month out)and pick a price point that you feel comfortable with - if you are able to get it, move quickly and don't look back. Of course prices go down - otherwise they would be approaching infinity by now. There's no magic formula - it's purely demand driven with software making calculations every minute behind the scenes. I have noticed lately some credit cards offers can give you a free round trip/lots of miles upfront if you spend "x" amount - this can also work, although keep any annual fees in mind and other "costs" that would lure you in the first place. Of course it also goes without saying that you have to be flexible on dates/times to get a competitive fare.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1972 posts

Don't expect prices to come down much this year. Prices are all supply and demand, and the airlines are getting really good at forecasting. There was one European flight out of Atlanta last week that was a one day bargain. Expect any price reductions to be just one flight, one location deals. Expect October flights to be more like May flights--quite a bit less price than mid Summer.
Flights are at an all time high. I wanted to go to Nova Scotia for many years, and we'll be saving $2K on our trip over going to Europe.

Posted by Paul
Weston, MA, USA
61 posts

Not even the people at the airline can answer your question Tiffany. Just like the major hotel chains, fares/rates are contolled by sophisticated software programs. They are constantly updating based on a myriad of factors. Consequently fares can rise or decline in minutes based on market conditions. As others have said, just keep checking regularly and when you see an attractive fare, GRAB IT!

Posted by Chris
Bedford
28 posts

When we were looking for flights to Barcelona, we were sent e-mails about flights and fares. We actually did receive an alert from www.hipmunk.com and the fare had gone down in price.