Finally! The Best Time To Purchase Airfare Has Been Revealed

aeroplane nose

Photo: Andrey Belenko via Flickr

So much for the commonly held belief that you should purchase your airline tickets well in advance. As travel shopping season kicks into high gear, a new report from the Airlines Reporting Corporation brings exciting news: The best time to purchase your airfare is about six weeks prior to travel. 

Yep, only six weeks. 

It took examining close to $80 billion worth of airline tickets, spread over 144 million transactions for the ARC to come up with that answer, but we’re certainly glad they did. 

Most Americans are planning to take a trip this year, and with airlines jacking up the costs on things like checked bags, seating assignments and other on-board services by a shocking 87 per cent in 2011, scoring a less-expensive fare is a win for our wallets. 

The ARC did notice some low-priced fares become available during the 120-day cycles they analysed. But even so, the majority of tickets priced below the average fare “appeared about six weeks before the flight,” wrote the authors.   

“We’re not advising people to purchase tickets only at this time during the cycle as there is no
guarantee they will receive the lowest price of the year,” said ARC. “It is just what the data indicates and we have seen this pattern over the last four years.”

Watch this short video to hear Chuck Thackston, managing director, Data and Analytics, discuss the study. 

Skipping the flight? See the best credit cards to save at the pump > 

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