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Best time to book flight in 2018

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

flight booking keyFollowing our popular news article titled “New Airfare Study Reveals the Best Time to book Flights” , we have another news that unlocks ways to save money on travel, including the best day to book a flight.

A study by Expedia, Inc., the world's largest online travel company, and ARC, a leader of air travel intelligence and commerce in the travel industry revealed patterns travelers can use to find airfare savings in 2018. The report also features commentary from Egencia, the corporate travel company of Expedia, on the business travel aspect of the findings.  

Air fare savings tips for 2018:

Economy travel:

· For most economy air travel, booking more than 30 days ahead often results in cheap airfare success.

· For most economy international flights, booking on a Sunday and departing on a Thursday or Friday is the best recipe to find a good price. (Noting highest Average Ticket Prices - ATPs for international economy flights tend to occur on a Friday.)

Premium travel:

· For most premium air travel, booking more than 30 days ahead often results in cheap airfare success.

· For most premium international flights, booking on a Saturday or Sunday, will save you money as compared to booking flights on other days of the week.

· For most premium international travel, starting the journey on a Friday or Sunday delivers the lowest ATPs.

Saving tip for leisure travelers wanting to upgrade to premium seats, at bargain prices:

Book premium fares on the weekend, and/or start the journey on a weekend.
Weekends are when travelers paid the lowest domestic and international premium ATPs, as this is when it’s least likely for corporate/business travelers to book their travel.

Air travel pricing trends

Myth busted: despite popular belief in the benefits of last-minute booking, in most parts of the world, no matter where you are headed, economy fares tend to increase as departure date gets closer. The most cost-effective booking lead time for an economy flight is one month, or even earlier, from the departure date.

What’s the best day-of-the week to find low air fares?

Based on ARC’s global flight data we analyzed the ATP for each day-of-week flights were ticketed (“booked”) to reveal “best day to book”.

International economy fares: best day to book and save

With few exceptions the cheapest fares for international economy flights were booked on a Sunday.

The exceptions were flights departing internationally from Australia, Iceland, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Peru, Singapore, Thailand and Tunisia.

Domestic economy fares: best day to book and save

Although there were nuances by local market, overall the cheapest fares for domestic economy flights were booked on a Sunday.

The exceptions were domestic economy flights within Bangladesh, China, Denmark, Fiji, Ireland, Panama, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Taiwan and United Arab Emirates.

Which day has the lowest fares for starting a journey?

Based on ARC’s global flight data we analyzed the ATP for each day-of-week flights actually departed to reveal “best day to start your journey”.

International economy fares: best day to travel

With very few exceptions, the cheapest fares for international economy flights had a Thursday or Friday departure date.

Exceptions were flights departing from Fiji and Saudi Arabia.

Domestic economy fares: best day to travel

The cheapest fares for departing on domestic economy flights vary widely by origin. Armed with this knowledge, cost-savvy travelers can use this pricing trend information to help them find a great value airfare.

For most international economy flights, our advice is to book on a Sunday and start your journey on a Thursday or Friday.

best time to book flights

What months offer the best fares?

Expedia and ARC experts compared ATPs paid for flights during a calendar month of flight departures and found:

For US travelers:

December had highest economy international ATPs/February had lowest; June had highest economy domestic ATPs/September had lowest.

October had highest premium international ATPs/December had lowest. June had highest premium domestic ATPs/August had lowest.

For UK economy international travelers, December had highest ATPs/ May had lowest.

In Asia, premium fares were highest mid-year (between April and September)

 

Premium flight insights

Premium domestic and international tickets issued on Saturdays and Sundays tended to have the lowest ATPs across geographic regions.

Based on ARC data, the premium paid for purchasing on the most expensive vs. cheapest day of week ranged from 15% to 120% for international flights. For domestic flights, the difference is less stark, you’ll only likely pay between 8% and 27% more by booking on other week days. This is likely driven, in part, by corporate traveler buying behavior. Corporate travelers and those who book their travel are less likely to book business travel when they are off work/over the weekend.

Premium domestic and international departures on Friday or Saturday tended to have the lowest ATPs across geographic regions.

The premium paid for departing on the most expensive vs. cheapest day of week ranged from 9% to 43% for international flights, and from 5% to 30% for domestic flights. This is likely driven, in part, by relatively low demand from corporate travelers on weekend days, and therefore presents a great opportunity for leisure travelers to secure a good premium deal. Egencia data for the same period as ARC data in this report (i.e. September 2016-August 2017) suggests that over 80% of corporate premium cabin tickets are booked to depart Monday through Thursday. Consequently, around 20% travel on weekends, suggesting some corporate travelers are taking advantage of lower prices or combining business and leisure trips that extend through the weekend.

Download the FULL REPORT HERE

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