How Far in Advance Can You Book Flights?

Why or how far in advance should book your flight in advance? This is always a confusing question for those who want to book cheap flight tickets. It doesn't matter whether you are looking for cheap flights from the US to India or UAE to Georgia or any other locations, choosing the right date and time is very crucial for every passenger to get the best flight deal.

Airfare prices today are extremely fragile and also getting very expensive day by day. In fact the airfare prices fluctuate several times in a day. Sometimes even while you are at your computer searching for air flight tickets and have found a cheap flight deal but as soon as you leave your system for a couple of minutes, the prices change and you are to find new airfare prices which are way higher than you originally saw.

Despite numerous news articles and YouTube videos purporting to know exactly how many days in advance you should buy a ticket in order to get the lowest price, the truth is that there is no “magic day” to buy tickets. Airline computers continually update bucket inventory based on sales projections, so the lowest priced tickets can become available any time between 11 months prior to the actual day of the flight.

However, because of the algorithms most airlines use, it’s unlikely that those lowest-priced tickets will be available for sale further than 6 months out or less than 14 days out, so the best advice is check ticket prices frequently (at least a couple of times a week) beginning 6 months prior to your trip.

The real “secret” to getting the lowest price is to know in advance what that low price is. The easiest way to do this, for most people who don’t have access to professional-grade ticket pricing software, is to search for tickets for several dates throughout the year, a couple of weeks apart. Make a note of the lowest price you find… that’s your target price. Then begin periodically checking the price for the dates you want. When it hits that price (or close to it), buy it.

Ticket prices don’t actually change that often. What you’re seeing are different ticket “buckets.” Sometimes the lowest-priced ticket is for sale, and sometimes it’s not, in which case the computer will show you the lowest bucket that is currently for sale. Different-priced tickets are NOT the same tickets. They are different products, and that cheap ticket typically has far more restrictions than a higher-priced ticket.

One good tactic is to purchase a ticket that’s just slightly more expensive than the cheapest ticket. This gives you status with the airline above all of the people “below” you with that slightly cheaper ticket. The airline doesn’t always sell the cheapest tickets for certain dates. You’ll have to adjust your target price if you want to fly on the day before Thanksgiving or to Florida during spring break. Also, Google search your destination for any events that might be occurring during your trip (conventions, sporting events, etc.) that might keep prices up.

how far in advance can you book flights

There are few tips to save money on flights.

1. Save Big on Online Flight Tickets

Online flight ticket booking, the most preferred airline ticket booking option helps not only the travel agencies to grow their business, but also help the travelers to book cheap flights from anywhere at any time across the world. Experts are of the opinion that booking your flights 3 months in advance will be the best decision to grab cheap flights on reasonable rates.

The day you book your airline ticket is very decisive in determining the ticket fare. The first thing you should keep in mind is that on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the ticket fare will be higher while compared to other days. Higher will be the ticket fare of weekends. The online travel websites have an user-friendly approach, hence making it easy for the users to navigate through different pages. The easy navigation not only enables youngsters but also old peeps to use technology easily.

Generally, experts in the industry have pointed out 90 to 95 days before the departure as the best time to book flight tickets. The day you book flight tickets also determines the price of the ticket. Weekends usually tend to have higher rates when compared to weekdays such as Tuesday or Wednesday.

For example, you may easily find cheap flights from Dallas to Kochi on weekdays, especially on Tuesday or Wednesday as the ticket fare will be lower on these days. Registering on travel websites takes just a few minutes. All you need to do is enter your full name, your email-address, password and you are ready to go. After you have successfully logged in, you need to complete your profile in order to be searchable to the airlines who might be looking for a offers like yours.

Online travel websites offer their users various search modes to start their search. You can update your profile to get the best offers and deals. The more information you update, the better the chances of finding a deal of your choice. The biggest drawback of the traditional way of finding the cheap airline deals is, you get limited options. But when you expose yourself to the world of online travel agents, you get endless options to choose from.

It is very important to search thoroughly before finalizing your flight tickets. Search competitive flight finders that offer amazing flight deals on various destinations. Also, ensure your browser in incognito mode while searching. It is beneficial to also evaluate airfare prices on airlines official website to know about deals or difference in airfare prices.

Also, do not forget to follow airline social media accounts, sometimes the airfare price deals are offered on platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

2. Best Time to Book Flight Tickets

With airfare prices splurging all the time, grabbing best flight deals is really difficult. Book flight tickets at the right time to get cheap flight tickets. For international tickets, start monitoring airfare prices at least 70-80 days in advance of your scheduled departure. For domestic tickets, watch airfare prices at least 60 days in advance from the date of travel.

This window has the lowest airfare and you must grab one as soon as you spot one. The nearer you are to your travel dates; higher go the prices of plane tickets. Often, flights at unsociable times or on certain days will be cheaper. Don’t become fixated on an exact time or date. This can be true with things like trains and buses as well as flights. In some cases “on the day” fares are often much, much higher than what you get when you book a couple of weeks (or even a couple of months) in advance.

Book as far in advance as possible and choose seat close to front of plane. Aisle is best so you can stand and exit without disturbing people. However, recent studies suggest that the best time to book a domestic flight is about 8 weeks, to be exact 54 days, in advance. Though the prime booking dates vary according to the destinations, for international flights also, travelers need to book earlier than late.

The best time to book flight tickets is generally three to four months in advance of your departure date. Booking during this period will help you avail discounts or special offers on desired flights. If you are flexible on the travel date and time, you can grab better deals as travel agencies offer good flight deals for midnight and early morning flights.

Off-seasons are also considered as suitable periods to fly because travel websites come up with various offers to attract customers during this time.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no best day or time to pay for the flight. Despite this, there are some general guidelines. Purchase domestic flights 1–3 months in advance, unless, you are booking during a holiday period or travelling internationally, in which case around 6 months is best.

The only other exception to this rule is if you find a ridiculously cheap flight that you know is an absolute bargain. Buy it irrespective of when the departure date is.

If you are looking for a price drop on your flight on domestic flights, you need to book at least 6-7 weeks in advance because a reasonable price drop demands a modest number of seats left on a flight unless the airlines will not give any discount. Those who are travelling to any popular destination at a highly acclaimed season, the chances will be higher for flights to get filled up at a faster pace.

Obviously, the airlines never need to put those flights on sale. Since tickets to popular holiday destinations or business spots are more likely to sell out faster, it’s always recommended to book earlier. While booking international flight tickets, experts consider buying tickets well in advance than booking a domestic ticket.

The availability of flights for those who are travelling abroad will depend on how frequently the airlines offer flights to the destination you fly to and how popular the destination is.

Studies reveal that the best time to fly to Asian countries is four months before departure. For Africa and the Middle East countries, it is 215 days before departure. For Australia and South Pacific tickets, book 320 days in advance. For best Europe flight deals, book 120 days in advance. For Central and South America in addition to Canada and Mexico flight deals, book 70 days out from travel dates on average.

Some people consider convenience over the lowest fare. For those who are concerned about factors such as which airlines to fly, nonstop flights or direct flights, weekend flights, time to fly, it would be best to book earlier than someone who is flexible on airline choice, travel date and travel time.

Always remember that as time goes by, you will get fewer options to choose from, even if the lowest possible fare stays around the same. If your destination has a limited number of airlines, and a small airport with minimal service, waiting too long to book your flight ticket will end up at higher risk. As these destinations will not offer much competition scope for airline services, the fare will be also higher.

If you are planning to fly to a destination on vacation or for business purposes, early-bird purchases will bring you the desired seats, lowest airfare, the itinerary of your choice and much more.

3. Avail discounts or special offers

While some airlines offer tickets to specific destinations on various discount sale, some others promote their tickets in the name of anniversary sales, early-bird offers etc.

Before making your purchases, search for low-cost airlines by comparing the price of various service providers and look for various sales bonanzas offered by travel agencies. How far in advance you book the flight and choosing the right time for your journey will significantly determine the possibility of getting the best deal on your flight ticket.

Travel agents have strong relations with various service providers like airlines, hotels chains, rental car services, and more. This is not possible for an individual customer. Thus, signing up for the services of the travel agents, you are also getting closer to the company’s reward programs. You are unlocking a big heap of perks, which you can’t otherwise. These may include spa credits room upgrades and much more.

So many perks at regular prices and while someone else is doing all the work for you, isn’t it much more than sweet deal?

4. Mistake Fares

Booking cheapest airfare tickets at the right time is an art. It is possible to get flights for as cheap as 75% less than the usual asking price. These mistake fares are exactly as the name describes. An airline accidentally puts tickets on sale for cheaper than they intended from a mistake with their own internal processes. It could be as simple as hitting the wrong button on a keyboard.

Because of this, they never last long! Aside from being glued to airfare websites, the best way of keeping on top of these is by signing up to one of the many email lists that provide these alerts as a service.

5. Know the best time to fly

To cut down on flight ticket costs, you must understand that flexibility rules the area. The time of the year, the day of the week, and time of the day – everything impacts the airfare prices of your plane tickets. Flying at the right time can save you hundreds of dollars. So be wise and know what the best time for you to fly is.

Some countries have peak seasons characterized by high airfare prices, high hotel room prices, etc. while on the other hands there are seasons which receive low tourist footfalls and have lowest airfares and hotel prices. The latter seasons are the best to travel. More so, the time of the week should be chosen carefully – Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays are cheapest to book flight tickets on.

Further, to reduce airfare prices even more choose red eye flights – odd timed air flights – because these have discount flight tickets due to inconvenient timings.

Most of us take care to make enough savings and manage to obtain a few days off work. This means we are completely ready for going on our hard-won break. However, first of all, one requires planning it effectively. It might be fun to fantasize about destinations like Honolulu, the actual part of trip planning shouldn't be treated as a second job done in a hurry.

Planning everything is much more fun when you are going on vacation. If you think your inner adventurer would lose ground hiring a travel agency, you are not right. You still retain the ultimate control on what you actually want to include in your itinerary. While the agency gives you suggestions, you would still be doing the research and planning and after that you can tell your travel agent to do the booking.

Even if it is short term jaunts within the country, hiring a travel agent could make the trip much easier and manageable. If you want to book cheap flights from Washington DC to Los Angeles and cheap flights from Washington DC to Honolulu, hiring a travel agency in Seattle is the right choice.

Having some flexibility when you travel will no doubt help you find cheaper fares. On any basic flight search, altering the dates and times will give you wildly different prices. As a general rule of thumb, flying on Friday and Sunday will be most expensive, whilst Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday will be cheapest. However, most search engines will allow you to do a flex month search to give you the best options.

6. Be flexible with your destinations

If you want to go a step further, be flexible on the departure and arrival cities. Altering your departure city also works with the destination. Don’t be afraid to fly to look at flights to nearby cities and then explore what options there are involving ground transport. There might be a direct bus or train connection for less than the extra cost of flying directly to where you want to go.

If you are heading to Europe from the US, just find the cheapest trans-Atlantic flight, then once you’ve crossed the ocean, take advantage of cheap intra-Europe fares on trains, coaches and flights. It takes effort to do the research but if you want cheap flights, it is one way that definitely works!

Similar to not getting wedded to an exact date, if you want to visit more than a couple of places, be flexible about the order in which you visit them. Want to see five European cities on your trip? Play around with the dates and the order to find the cheapest overall cost. There will always be places to stay; there might not always be flights at those prices.

7. Throwaway Tickets

Before going into this one, be warned, airlines are not a fan of it, and it is a move that isn’t without risk. In fact, Lufthansa was in the news for suing a passenger who had a throwaway ticket. Because ticket pricing is based on supply and demand, sometimes, there are alternative destinations to your preferred route that have your target destination as a layover or part of the trip.

You book the cheaper route, and get off on the layover and don’t bother using the last part of your ticket. You can save a lot of money by not taking the most direct route. A route with a couple of stopovers might look like a challenge or even an inconvenience, but if your plan involves, say, 12 hours waiting somewhere for your next flight, that’s 12 hours to explore somewhere you might never otherwise have seen!

8. Switching Your Location

Some travellers swear by using a VPN to switch your location and access cheaper fares on flight websites. Either use a VPN so the site reads your IP as coming from another country, or check if the website has alternative country versions (sometimes there is a flag in the footer) - switch it to a location you think will have cheaper flights (usually countries with weaker economies) and see what is brought up for your itinerary.

Note: you may need Google translate to understand the site!

9. Deeply research the Fees

Once you spot an airfare price deal, you must not be convinced that the price that shows up is the final airfare price you will pay. Go through the whole process but do not proceed with payment until final airfare prices appear. Check the breakdown of the flight ticket cost and see if there are any unnecessary fees or taxes charged. Also verify for what all services are included in the airfare price.

One of the things airlines have got better at, especially the cheaper ones, is hidden fees. There’s nothing worse than finding what appears to be great deal, only to go through the checkout process and after you’ve checked a bag, selected a window seat and added a meal, or changed the itinerary, the price is the same as every other flight.

There are a few things you can do to avoid fees, the first being sign up to the airline’s credit card - the majority offer no fees on checked baggage.

To avoid potential costs for changing the itinerary, if you decide fairly soon after buying you want to change it, as long as you’re not flying in the next week (7 days), federal regulation requires the airlines allow you to change or cancel your trip within 24 hours of the original booking with no penalty.

If you have booked a flight, and they change anything about the original booking you can try to call them up and change it. A lot of companies will honour that as they have changed your original booking.

10. Sign up for airfare price alerts

Well, this is the most common feature which every big flight comparison website like Google Flights, Tripadvisor Flights, And Cheapoair is providing. Similarly at Skyscanner you can easily set an alert for your last minute flight deals fares while searching. So, whenever the flight prices will go up or down this price alert system will notify you.

Airfare price alerts are very critical to save money while booking flight tickets. Airfare price alerts send you email notifications when there is a change in flight ticket prices. Keep a close check on the airfare prices of the selected routes and stay updated on emails; as soon as you spot a drop in plane ticket prices, book right away as these might last only for minutes.

11. Can You Book Last Minute Flight At The Airport?

Well, booking last minute flight at the airport can be an option if you don’t mind standing in a queue or go through the check-in process but the first and the foremost thing is that. There should be someone at the ticket counter who can tell you about the availability and book your last minute flight as soon as possible.

But we suggest that you should always book your last minute flight over the call before reaching the airport because you will not be disappointed if you find the airport ticket counter closed. And the biggest benefit is you need not standing in the long queues.

12. Can Last Minute Flight Be Cheaper?

You should always look for the last minute flight if the travel is unplanned but the need for the hour which you cannot avoid. Then the only option left for you is to book the flight from the last minute flight deals available on the day at which you want to travel.

Well, as it is a last minute flight, so including you, your travel agent or the airline is also aware of your emergency travel. That’s why you may end up paying a little bit higher for your last minute flight. But you can get it cheaper only if you are going for a funeral or if you have any family emergency.

13. Greener Choice Flights

This is the best part that Skyscanner introduced because you are getting an option to select a flight that emits approx 6% less CO2 in the environment and the airlines had been marked as Greener Choice. The fare may be a bit high under this category.

14. You don’t have to book a return ticket

Returns aren’t necessarily always the best value. Investigate going one way with one airline, and back with another, or flying into and out of different cities or airports. Conversely, sometimes a return will be cheaper than buying a one-way ticket. In this case, buy the return but only take the flight one way.

15. Hiring a travel agency is affordable

Most of us imagine that having a travel agent would be outside of our budget or just superfluous for the short domestic kind of travels. But, in reality, it is not. You would be astounded to find out how much a professional travel agent can help you and make things simple for you, so all you have in the end is a stress-free and fun-filled holiday time to look forward to.

Why you need a travel agency for planning your business as well as fun trips within the country? Read on further to know why having a travel agent for your domestic trips is important. Summertime is the best time for a getaway. We always need it at this time of the year. We all know that it can pretty stressful to organize the logistics of relaxing and fun moments we have been pondering on.

At such times, hiring a reputable travel agency can be a tempting and wise decision. Even though it gives an extra line to your travel budget, it’s completely worthwhile to spend for this service.

As per the magazine Travel+Leisure, travel agents get a majority of their income from the commission paid by the hotels, tour operators, cruise ships, and airlines. Thus, though your travel agency may charge you a booking fee, it can be as low as a hundred dollars, making it highly reasonable one given the amount of comfort you get.

Apart from this, there are some travel agents who do not charge you at all, as they are relying more on the service provider for the kickbacks. Thus, your fantasy trip to places like the Oahu islands would be the same cost as you would pay for it by arranging everything yourself.

Good travel agencies want you to be their returning customers and they would rather like that you refer them to your friends. However, it is important to ask your travel agent about how much fees they would be charging you.

Due to their deals with airlines, the travel agencies can provide you with cheaper flights tickets. Thus, you can get book cheap flights from Washington DC to Los Angeles and cheap flights from Washington DC to Honolulu than you would have done otherwise with the service of a travel agency.

And this means you have savings with you which you can rather spend on a spa or having fun activity on your trip to your dream destination.
Kalyan Panja