Brancantelli states a common truism: For the airline's it's about getting you to pay the most you're willing to pay, which is the opposite of what the consumer wants. On a single flight, there can be more than a dozen price categories. On a 150-seat plane, there could be 150 prices. Here are his eight insider tips:
Book six weeks in advance: Passenger pay the lowest price, nearly 6 percent below the average fare, if they buy six weeks before their flight.
Best time to buy is Tuesdays at 3pm Eastern:
The recommendation is only for domestic tickets. However one critic argues that the deal can vary frequently and there's no specific day or time of the week to buy.
Cheapest day to fly is Wednesday:
The day with the more empty seats required for discounting. Other low-cost days are Tuesdays and Saturdays. The most expensive are Friday and Sunday.
Fly out early:
The cheapest is typically the first flight of the morning. The next-cheapest are during or after lunch or at the dinner hour. The absolute cheapest is on limited routes with red-eyes.
Check low-cost airlines individually:
Comparison sites like kayak.com don't necessarily do all the work for you. Some airlines in the U.S. and in Europe don't allow their tickets to be quoted on such popular comparison websites. Also check what fees are added to drive-up the cost.
Sign-up for free alerts on AirfareWatchdog.com:
Almost every airline offers this surface even if the fare drops only $2. But AirfareWatchdog uses people to vet deals rather than computer systems. The website only issues updates when they think they've found a good deal.
Build a relationship:
If you have an elite membership or credit card with the airline, you have a leg-up on other travelers. The more an airline knows you, the more it tailors its pricing for you. Credit cards tied to airlines offers perks such as free checked bags, priority boarding and seat selection.
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