The Traveller's Magazine icon
The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

A common travel misconception is that the best airline ticket deals are last minute ones, when companies are trying to sell the last seats on a flight. But actually the best deals are found before anyone else has even started booking on the flight.

The truth is that it’s impossible to predict when airlines with raise and lower the airfares; often the airlines don’t even know a day in advance how the rates will change. There are not really any precise rules when it comes to airline tickets but one thing you should do is forget about all of the travelling urban legends you’ve read on the web: “book your flight on Wednesdays between midnight and 1am” or “book 2-3 weeks before departure…”

The only rules are to start your search for cheap flights well in advance, follow the price changes and grab the lowest one when it appears. If you have fixed travel dates and destinations, here’s how to find the cheapest airline tickets:

  1. Start searching at least 6 months before your planned travel dates. Watch the price changes for a couple of weeks. Sign up for newsletters, create a flight alert to receive periodic emails with the latest low fare of your choice. Check buzz regularly to see if any other users have found a good deal.
  2. Consider buying your flight between 2-4 months before your planned departure date. If you plan to travel during high tourist season then the soon the better. For example, to find a flight to Bangkok in January, which corresponds to Thailand’s most popular time of the year for travellers, we would suggest you have your credit card ready in September to buy your flight.
  3. If you find a fare that you think is pretty good while doing your research on, then don’t wait, book it immediately. Not to make you paranoid, but it is true that airline companies track searches made for destinations so prices are going fluctuate according to popularity of that flight route.

There are last minute flight bargains, that is for sure, but you have to have very flexible travel dates and not have your heart set on a specific destination.

One thing to note: low cost airlines rarely discount fares at the last minute and the lowest prices are available 3-4 months before departure. If you plan to travel with a low cost airlines on a weekend, don’t leave it for the last minute.

Image: FoxyCoxy / flickr cc

Looking for your next trip? Find the best flights with us!

2 responses to “Travel Myth Buster: Last minute flights are the cheapest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

footer logo
Made with for you