• Welcome to ScubaBoard


  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

Best time to book flights

Discussion in 'General Travel & Vacation Discussions' started by Grateful head, Apr 4, 2021.

  1. Grateful head

    Grateful head Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Wi
    146
    41
    We just returned from Cozumel one week ago and I am trying to plan a return trip there, or another Caribbean destination TBD for this fall. I booked our flight to Cozumel last December for our mid March trip. I paid $325 per ticket on American Airlines. Looking now on different sites and I see them averaging about $560. I have researched best time to book flights in the past and talked to travel agents and have received conflicting info. In or out of the six month window, booking on a Tuesday ect....so I am asking here... general thoughts on when to book a flight for this fall and how does Covid and the possible forthcoming travel boom affect future flights?
     
  2. rick00001967

    rick00001967 Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: canada
    1,871
    832
    in canada we sometimes have to wait for seasonal flights to be scheduled. i think they come out in the summer. other than that, we just wait for seat sales to come up. booking too far in advance can be a problem. schedules can change.
     
  3. wnissen

    wnissen ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Livermore, Calif.
    692
    439
    Broadly speaking, airlines have one, and only one goal. To fill the plane completely, such that a full-fare walk-up business traveler settles into her seat just as the door closes. They have extremely sophisticated "yield management" systems to help make this happen. They will only lower prices if they think there's a danger of the plane not filling. Not for any other reason. Maybe at one time there was a Tuesday effect because of travel agents but I certainly never saw it, and it seems like most people are booking their flights while "at work" so who knows? I'm skeptical that there ever were "best times" (except for Southwest, you almost always want to book right when the flight opens). But if there were, those rules have gone completely out the window in the pandemic.
    So you need to book when they think they won't fill the plane. That's hard to do, their whole job is the fill the plane. But if you can find a time when demand is dropping unexpectedly, you'll get a good fare. This can happen for a whole bunch of reasons. A competitor has added capacity to the route, leaving empty seats. Demand for travel overall decreases because people know they are putting themselves and their communities at risk, or that there's a good chance the flight will be cancelled/change routing/something else bad. Or news breaks about a particular destination (e.g., terrorism, crime, political unrest) and it's suddenly less appealing. I think your instincts are right that we're at the edge of a travel boom such as the world has never seen, so drops in demand are unlikely.
    This is a very long way of saying the only thing you can do is know what a "good" price is for your route (I set alerts on Google Flights), and snap it up when you find one you're willing to pay. There's a real floor here. It costs the airline over $300 to operate a round trip on that route, not including taxes. They're not going to be selling tickets for $150. They would cancel the flight instead (I think technically they're not supposed to but "operational reasons" can do a lot of work). But they'll certainly sell them for $600 if they think they can get it.
    You can also look into "travel hacking", for coach class it's more work than I'm willing to do, but people do find deals, either by getting miles on credit cards, or last-minute sales.
     
  4. Hoag

    Hoag Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: SW Ontario - Just outside of the GTHA
    1,893
    1,590
    TBH, I think that the effects that this world wide pandemic has had on the airline industry, all of the "old rules of thumb" and "conventional wisdom" may no longer apply - or at least not until things start to return to normal.

    It used to be that the best time to buy airline tickets would be 6-8 weeks in advance of your travel on a Tuesday just before the "Close of business" (5:00pm). This is when airlines would try to unload any remaining seats on a given flight. I don't think that holds true today. With the lack of travel, both long haul and short haul flights have been seen to have extremely flexible schedules as airlines try to come to terms with a market that is now a small fraction of what it was just 2 years ago.
     
    wnissen likes this.
  5. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year
    10,128
    3,003
    Book your flights the day after I do.

    Save buckets o’ money.
     
  6. Grateful head

    Grateful head Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Wi
    146
    41
    That’s funny.
    Awesome explanation of the industry.
     
  7. Grateful head

    Grateful head Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Wi
    146
    41
    That’s why I’m wondering if the $325 I paid in December compared to the $560 today is a good deal to the possible $750 in June or July. Trying to predict the unpredictable.
     
    wnissen likes this.
  8. ontdiver

    ontdiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ottawa, Ontario
    580
    383
    I tend to use points and will book flights as far ahead as possible, usually in parallel with LOB booking. While this may not always be the least expensive approach, it ensures that I am locked in to my trip.
     
  9. Grateful head

    Grateful head Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Wi
    146
    41
    I tend to do the same thing. While “least expensive” would be nice, I am more concerned about paying “ most expensive”.
     
    ontdiver likes this.
  10. rick00001967

    rick00001967 Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: canada
    1,871
    832
    i may adopt this as my new mantra
     

Share This Page