Monday, August 22, 2016

How to Get Cheapest Air Tickets for you Journey

Being a frequent traveler, I prefer the journeys by train when its less then 10-12 hours, but in long distances I prefer to travel by air to save the precious time. 
In last couple of years, I have been to various places and to some places multiple times. One day I realized that, the Air tickets to same cities have sometimes been very cost effective and some times I have paid higher than average price. The Question was WHY !!
The answer was hidden in the date stamps on the tickets. Now the question was, when and how to book my flights in most cost effective way. I started some research and analysis on the change in Air fares. The conclusion was, I had got best deals on all those bookings that had been made atleast 60-70 days in advance or earlier. 
Here, based on my travel experiences, I am sharing some tips on How to Get Cheapest Price on Your Flights...

Air Fare Pricing - How it works : 
Simple basic rule of economics, supply and demand, accompanied with need and surge pricing model. 
On average, you can buy your air tickets 11 months before. But its not like, you will be getting any early bird deal if you book 11 months before. 
There is a pattern in pricing, that is : Staring off with high prices, coming down slowly till few weeks before the date and steep increase in last 14 days. 

So, what happens when with Air fares when you book your flight: 

Before 11 - 7 months : 
These booking can be know as early birds bookings, however other than any special offers, there are no benefits in booking these tickets. Generally the prices are higher in these days. You can only expect to get the cheap air tickets if there is some promotional offer running. 
The only benefit of booking tickets in this duration is that, you can get full full choice of flight options and better seat selection.

Booking before 3 to 6 months 
Want to plan your journey with peaceful mind, get all thing done on time and without trouble. Then you must plan and book your air tickets in this duration. You can easily get more flight options, good seat selection options and comparatively cheaper deals than in  "early birds bookings" period. 

Booking between approximately 3 weeks - 3 months
This duration is the best time frame to get the cheapest deals ( other than offers). Just keep an eye on the fares during these 90 days, as they fluctuate alot. Also, you can find decent offers on air fares easily during these days. I call it, "relaxed zone"
The benefit of booking during these days is :
- You have your journey well planned and with minimal chances of cancellation.
- The fare are at best possible price with or without lucrative deals.

Booking before 14-20 days ( 2-3 weeks ) 
In cases of popular destinations, in this time frame, there are slim chances of getting a good deals on air fares. The flights get expensive, the choice of seats are less and you have all chances to get worried about making amendments in your travel plan. 

Between 0-13 days ( last 2 weeks ) 
You have all your rights to get frustrated while searching for air tickets at reasonable air fares. If you are booking your tickets within 7 days of departure, you need to pay more than what you have had paid during  "relaxed zone" time period. Also, you’ll probably have limited choices for flight times and seats.

Try Your Luck ( on the day of travel ) 
It has always been and interesting experience, while booking air travel tickets directly at air port on the day of travel and just before time of travel.
It has always been a luck here in terms of tickets availability and air fares .
Sometime, you can easily grab a ticket at 60-70% of normal price and some time you need to pay for your need of 11th hour.
If you are lucky, you may find the Aviation companies selling tickets on highly discounted prices just before the time of departure. This happens if the flight has significant number of seats vacant or the flight has been a longer route like ( I got it twice ) NY to Del to Mumbai.
Summary : 

Booking early gives a good deal, but booking very early like a year out will not get you a good deal. 
The best time to book a ticket is 30-60 days before the date of journey. 
You can try your luck, but in general, the lesser the time gap, the higher the price
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