Updated: February 6, 2021
Booking Flights – Tips & Recommendations
- Covid Update: Things are obviously very different in the time of Covid and Corona. Most airlines offer free cancelation on domestic and international flights and there are some incredible deals if you’re prepared to book several months in advance. Do read the fine print for any trip speculating on a Covid-free future. Many of the best hotels and resorts also offer similar cancelations options.
- How far in advance should I book flights? – The best time to buy a ticket for flights within North America is 60 days in advance. For international travel to Asia and the South Pacific the best time to buy is 5 months in advance. For flights between North America and Europe the best time is 6 months in advance. And for flights within Europe the best time to buy is as soon as the tickets become available (usually 6 to 10 months in advance).
- What Are The Best Days To Fly? Lines are smallest and airports quietest on Sunday (best) and Saturday (second best) when business travelers are not traveling.
- What Are The Best Days To Buy Tickets? – There is a very small statistical benefit to buying tickets on the weekend but there are so many other variables I wouldn’t focus on this too much.
- What Are The Best Airlines In The US? Virgin America, Jet Blue, and Alaska.
- What Are The Best International Airlines? Emirates, Qatar Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and Cathay Pacific.
- What Is The Best Airline Credit Card? Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (international travel) and United MileagePlus Explorer Card (domestic travel).
- The Best Sites for Booking Hotels
Cheap Flights – The Guide
The most common question I get from readers is How do I find cheap airfares?
It’s complicated, I usually reply.
Having a good idea of how the industry works, the different options for buying airline tickets, and how to get the best deal and cheapest price on a ticket can make the whole experience a fun first step into planning your trip.
I’ll describe below my thoughts on finding cheap fares and how I go about planning a route, picking an airline, and searching for the best ticket deals.
But first I’m going to start with the basic steps I use when searching for a flight.
8 Steps to Finding Cheap Flights
Step 1: Have Flexible Dates and Destinations
This is obviously not possible for every trip but they’re the two secret ingredients for any story about finding ridiculously cheap flights to some exotic exciting destination. If you’re dates and/or destination is unchangeable you’re less likely to find the super cheap deals. But you can still find good deals – and to do that follow the steps below.
Step 2: Search for Flights on Multiple Air Travel Sites
These are the best websites for finding cheap flights:
- Kayak.com – best for cheap airfares, multiple destinations, flexible dates, and direct flights
- Google Flights – best for discovery, when you know you want to go someplace but don’t know where
- Momondo.com – best for cheap flights with multiple stops
For flights use the flexible search options (if possible). The best days to fly are usually – though not always – Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday. Thursday and Friday are the most expensive days to fly.
Take note of the best prices, routes, and flights that are returned. If they’re good fares, buy them and forget about the rest of this post. But if you want to keep searching then go to step 2.
Step 3: Search Airfare Websites for Deals and Seat Sales
The above websites should return all current sales but sometimes they miss a seat sale put on by a specific airline for a short window of dates. The following websites work best when you have a destination in mind but are flexible for the dates you travel.
Go to Airfarewatchdog.com and Travelzoo.com to look for flights cheaper than what you found in step 1. This will tend to be more of a listing than a search for exact dates and flights.
Step 4: Look at Flights on Budget Airlines
Budget airlines don’t always appear on travel websites like Orbitz or Kayak so you’ll have to search on different sites to find those fares.
Search for budget flights using these sites:
These provide listings of flights on budget and low-cost carriers. Budget airlines tend to fly shorter routes and any route that requires a change of planes probably isn’t worth the hassle. But looking never hurts.
If you find a budget airline flying the route you need, then visit their website and check the price. Be sure to account for baggage fees and extra charges.
Step 5: Search for Airfare Sales
Go to Google and search for your origin and destination cities, e.g. “Flight sale from New York to London” and “sale New York to London flights”. Follow the most intriguing links to see if there are any legitimate sales.
Step 6: Enter Dates and Destinations on Airline Sites
Once you’ve decided on the best flight based on price, route, and dates be sure to visit the website of the actual airline (e.g. United or British Airways). They’ll sometimes be selling the same ticket you found on Travelocity or Vayama for a cheaper price – though it can often be more expensive as well.
I’ll repeat this!
Say you find a great price on Vayama.com for a British Airways flight from New York to London. Before you buy it visit the British Airways’ website as they will sometimes be selling it for the same price or cheaper.
Step 7: Decide When To Buy Your Ticket
When should you actually buy your tickets?
OK, you’ve found a good price but should you buy it now or wait?
The best time to purchase airline tickets is between Monday night and Wednesday afternoon (sales come out on Monday, are matched by early Tuesday, and disappear by Thursday); not before 3 1/2 months prior to your trip; and not after 7 to 10 days prior to your trip (when airlines assume you’re a business traveler and will pay whatever it takes).
Statistically, the best time to purchase tickets is
- 6 weeks before you fly for U.S. domestic flights
- 21 to 22 weeks in advance for flights to Europe
- 11 to 12 weeks in advance for flights to the Caribbean
- 23 to 24 weeks in advance for international business or first class
Step 8: Subscribe to Scott’s Cheap Flights Newsletter
If you’re really serious about finding the cheapest flights (or you fly a lot and need a convenient resource for getting cheap fares) then subscribe to this newsletter: Scott’s Cheap Flights. There’s a free version (you’re notified about 1 out of every 3 deals) and a paid (you get emails on all the deals they find).
What You Need To Know About The Airline Industry To Find Cheap Fares and Save Money
Different types of Airlines: Legacy and Low Cost Carriers
Picking the best airline and flights for your trip starts with your decision to fly with a legacy carrier (sometimes called a major) or with a low cost carrier (sometimes called a budget or charter airline).
The legacy carriers are typically the big names you first think of when you consider airlines: United, Delta, British Airways and Lufthansa. The low cost carriers (or LCC from here on) are the upstarts with the hip new names: Jet Blue, Ryan Air, Virgin Airlines and Air Asia, for example.
The two types of carriers often act like two parallel travel worlds that rarely cross paths with each other. The carriers often fly from different airports, sell their tickets in a different manner, offer different inflight options and can have very different prices. And that’s just a start.
Here are the key points that define legacy and low cost carriers:
- Generally have better and more complete service than LCCs — e.g. transfer bags between connecting flights, serve meals, offer in-flight entertainment.
- Typically offer passengers different classes of seating (e.g. first class, business class), airport lounges and frequent flyer programs.
- Most legacy airlines are a member of an alliance whereby partner airlines share routes, offer connecting flights and issue boarding passes for other airlines.
- Work on the hub and spoke model between major cities.
- Tickets for missed flights (because of a missed connection) are usually honored.
Low Cost Airlines
- Known for cheap — often ridiculously cheap — ticket prices. Some of the European LCCs have offered flight promotions with tickets across the continent for as little as €1. But even non-promotion ticket prices are regularly in the €10-30 range. (These ticket prices however, often don’t include the high taxes and fees that LCCs usually charge. Be sure to compare the total ticket cost not just the initial quoted price when booking.)
- Usually fly shorter trips and routes (e.g. Amsterdam to Rome) — though this is changing and it’s now possible to complete an Around The World trip solely on Low Cost Carriers.
- Large fluctuations between ticket prices by the hour, by the days of the week, by high and low season.
- Must book through each individual airline’s web site and usually no ticket issued (i.e. only paperless ticket).
- Flights are point to point, so you don’t get a discount for flying from point A to B, and then B to C like you would on a Major airline
- Return tickets (i.e. a typical roundtrip ticket) are usually the cost of 2 one way tickets.
- Luggage is rarely conveyed from one flight to another connecting flight even when both flights are with the same airline. Passengers will need to collect their bags and re-check them at the baggage counter.
- Often use smaller airports that can be quite a distance from the city and the city’s main airport. Check transfer times and distances carefully if you’re connecting to a flight on a different airline.
- Baggage restrictions are often stricter on low cost carriers and checked baggage will usually entail a charge of €5-20 euros and then an excess baggage charge for heavier bags.
- Some Low cost Carriers have credit card charges (Ryanair has a €5 charge for credit cards) on top of the fees, taxes, and baggage costs.
- Usually no in-flight entertainment
- Not always the cheapest. The majors have become more competitive with pricing so don’t automatically assume that the budget airline has the cheapest ticket.
- LCCs can and often do change times, dates and routes with little or no notice. You’ll have the choice of rebooking or getting a refund but if your entire vacation is dependent on getting from, say, London to Mykonos, this could be a major interruption to your plans.
How do Low Cost Carriers Keep their prices so low?
It’s often asked — how can budget airlines offer such cheap tickets and why, if these airlines are so popular, don’t the majors just offer the same inexpensive services? There are a number of reasons and not all apply to all airlines or situations but the most important differences between Low Cost and Legacy airlines are the following:
- LCCs service shorter routes and flights where quick turn-arounds are both possible and have a big effect on down time.
- LCCs often have newer more fuel-efficient aircrafts that keep fuel costs down.
- LCCs don’t have the legacy costs of the majors – pensions, health care, and generally don’t have to deal with unions.
- LCCs are no frills and this helps keep costs down.
- Some would argue that LCCs have just been better run. The major airlines were probably slower in realizing changes to the travel industry through deregulation, the advent of the internet, point to point route models and adopting the technology that allows budget airlines to keep their fleet airborne a large percentage of the day.
Legacy or Low Cost Carrier — Which is Better?
If both low cost and legacy carriers offer the same price on the same route then go with the major airline. The service is usually better, you’ll probably get a free meal, and there’s a lot more certainty with the flight. (It’s important to remmber that LCCs are not always the cheapest.)
Because LCCs fly to smaller airports that can be a good distance from the main airport, be sure to have at least 3 or 4 hours to get from one airport to another if you’ve got a connecting flight to catch from a different airport.
Flying to smaller airports (and smaller towns) isn’t all bad: they’re usually less busy and security checkpoints are usually less hectic. As well, if that small city or island happens to be the exact place you’re going, then clearly LCCs can work well for you.
General Tips to Buying Airline Tickets
Advice for buying tickets and ideas for getting the cheapest price:
- Tuesday and Wednesday are the cheapest days to fly. The weekends are the most expensive. Searching for tickets off the pick days of the week can save you 20% to 40% of the ticket price.
- Finding discounted tickets: It’s impossible to keep track of ticket prices to every interesting destination for all possible dates. But these sites will keep you informed of the latest deals and last-minute discounts: Travelzoo for international travel (and hotels) and AirfareWatchDog for domestic (U.S.) routes.
- Flights between Europe and North America follow the most predictable price patterns. They ramp up at the end of May and enter peak season at the end of June and beginning of July. The decrease starts suddenly in the last week of August with the final big drop coming the middle week of October.
- Flights between Europe and Asia and between North America and Asia are more complex but generally increase for December, January, July, and August and are cheaper throughout the rest of the year. There can be huge differences between a New York to Bangkok flight and a New York to Singapore flight, so if your travel plans are flexible be sure to check every possible route.
- If you have to travel to a specific place on specific dates (e.g. a family wedding, you got an Oscar nomination) then booking early is the best way to go. But for everything else, the book early advice is nonsense — or at least potentially nonsense. Flight prices go up, flight prices go down. It’s all about supply and demand. If a flight from London to Rome for next month is half full then you’re going to get a great deal (much better than the price you would have gotten booking 6 months in advance). If there’s one ticket left it will cost a fortune.
- The key to getting great ticket prices is flexibility: flexible on where to go, flexible on when to go, flexible on how to go (direct or stopover, business or economy). The more flexibility you have the better you’re going to do. Be sure to search for “flexible dates” when you’re able to do so.
- For the Major airlines and for most long haul routes (e.g. across the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans or between any 2 continents) search first in Vayama.com, Kayak.com, travlocity.com, or Expedia.com then take the best 3 or 4 prices from the cheapest airlines and search those individual sites for similar dates. Occasionally they will have better prices than the consolidators.
- If you’re traveling as a family be sure that the website you’re using to search for flights allows the option to search for youth tickets. These can sometimes be cheaper by as much as 40%, though this is less common than it used to be.
- Since Low Cost Carriers only sell their tickets through their web sites and not through large travel sites it’s difficult to compare costs and find routes for budget airlines. (Kayak, Vayama, Travelocity, Expedia and the other big travel sites don’t always have information on the low cost carriers.) That’s where web sites like Skyscanner and Which Budget come in handy. Find the best route and price from these web sites then make your way to that airline’s site to purchase the tickets.
- I strongly recommend buying what’s referred to as an open-jaw ticket. This means you arrive-at and depart-from different cities. For example fly New York to London on your outbound trip, but return Paris to New York on your inbound trip. You save time and money by not having to return to your arrival city (where you’ve already been). The main downside to this is that the very cheapest deals in the airline industry are often tied to the same city (e.g. a return Los Angeles-Hong Kong ticket) but excluding the very cheapest deals – which most people don’t get anyways – the cost of an open jaw ticket can be fairly similar to a more standard ticket. Be sure to check this out.
And finally, the web site FareCompare recently ran through their data and came to these interesting conclusions:
- Shop Tuesday at 3pm for domestic (U.S.) airline tickets. (Sales start to hit the wires Monday, are matched by other airlines by Tuesday afternoon and disappear by Thursday night — so you have a 3 day window to get the best deals on tickets sales.)
- Airlines start discounting about 3 1/2 months before departure for U.S. domestic flights and 4-5 months before for international flights. If you buy before this you’ll probably be paying full fare.
- Airline ticket prices increase dramatically inside 14 days before departure – 10 or 7 days before for low cost airlines. (After that they assume you’re last-minute business traveler who’ll pay what ever it takes to get a flight.)
Around the World Trips
Travelers are using around the world tickets (RTW) more often these days and often for good reason. You can see a lot places with a well planned itinerary that is usually good value and makes a good use of time.
I recommend these tickets for people who want to see the world and have between 3 weeks and 3 months for their trip.
Any less time and you’d be on a plane most of your trip. (3 weeks is pushing the practicality of such a trip to begin with, but if you have 5 or 6 cities you just have to see, and a limited amount of time an RTW ticket can be the way to do it.)
Any more time and you might want to consider a more unplanned trip that utilises budget airlines and cheap off-season one way tickets. It’s not unreasonable to be able to do an around the world trip using the buy-as-you-go method for half the price of a true RTW ticket. And the freedom you get from having an unplanned itinerary is fun and liberating.
Tips for Planning an Around the World Trip
- RTW tickets offer great value for business and first class travel. If you always travel in the better service classes or are considering a splurge, RTW tickets for these classes are often as little as 50% more than a regular ticket.
- Compare prices from different starting points — prices can often be cheaper starting from Europe (especially London) or Asia (Bangkok has great deals) than from North America. If the difference in price is great enough, look for a cheap one way flight to get you to your starter-city.
- It’s not always true but to keep it simple: route changes involve a large fee, time and date changes have no fee or a small one.
- If you need to make changes contact the airline of the flight directly (not the consolidator that sold you the ticket) — often they won’t charge the flight change fees stipulated in your ticket agreement (To them it’s just a regular ticket.)
- Consider going overland for some of your trip — it saves you the time and expense of backtracking and can make the ticket considerably cheaper. (e.g. Arrive in Singapore, travel overland on your own to Bangkok, depart from Bangkok — or — Arrive in London, travel overland to Istanbul, depart from Istanbul.)
- Good sites for planning your trip: Star Alliance Fare Planner for planning a trip on the largest airline alliance of them all. OneWorld Explorer isn’t quite as big as Star but has better coverage of South and Central America. AirTreks is a popular trip planner based in San Francisco. Trailfinders is good at tailoring budget trips to specific needs and destinations.
Booking Flights with Budget Airlines
As I mentioned above, the web sites Skyscanner and Which Budget can be helpful in finding routes and schedules for budget airlines. For the most accurate information and flight schedules — and when it’s time to actually purchase a ticket — you will have to visit the airline’s website.
FAQ On Buying Air Tickets – A summary and overview of popular questions
Q. Will airfares go down or up in 2017?
A. This is the question everyone has been asking over the last month. There were some fare increases in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 – but due to the falling price of gas airfares are not much more now than they were at the start of 2012. Airfares have fallen in 2016. I expect that trend to reverse in 2017 and increase a little.
Here are my thoughts for the changes ahead:
- Fall and winter are typically the cheapest times to fly and this year will be no exception. Good deals are already appearing for spring flights to Europe and Asia (especially Hong Kong) in 2017.
- The trend of charging passengers fees for checked bags, aisle seats, onboard meals, entertainment options, and many others “extras” will continue.
- With people seemingly reluctant to book flights, hotels have been offering some great deals for summer bookings. Booking your hotel room early is always a good plan. I think more so now.
- 2017 will be the year that smart phones, iPads, Kindles, and other tablets will be allowed to remain powered during takeoff and landing. 2014 and 2015 saw some movement on this trend but it will increase in 2017. There’s little evidence these electronics pose a risk to the aircraft and pressure has been building to allow them to stay on.
Q. What are the best websites for finding cheap flights?
A. The secret is to check as many sources as possible. These are my 3 favorites:
Q. Is business class worth the extra money?
A. Often yes, but of course it depends on your own personal budget.
Here are some of the perks of business and first class (from this summary).
- priority check-in
- more check-in baggage
- sometimes access to an elite lounge with food and drinks
- early boarding
- more spacious seating
- more carry-on space
- flat beds on some international flights
- more attentive and friendly flight attendants
- higher quality food, selection, and service; free drinks
- less busy bathroom
- fewer children / crying infants
- priority baggage service
- first off the plane, first to customs, etc.
- more reward miles
- more flexible booking arrangements and overall better service
- priority security screening
- celebrity sighting opportunities
- schmoozing with high-profile people
- complimentary ground service to and from the airport
- special treatment in case of flight delays or cancellations
- psychological benefits of feeling superior to those in economy class
Q. What’s the best way to get a seat upgrade?
A. Belong to the airline’s Elite Club – or at least belong to their frequent flier program. Without this you stand little chance of getting an upgrade. Airlines reward loyalty and this is how they show it.
Q. When is the best time to buy my ticket?
A. The sweet spot is between 6 weeks and 3 months prior to your flight for domestic flights, 2 months to 4 months for Caribbean destinations, and 4 to 5 months for Europe. Any farther before and the airlines haven’t started to actively manage fares on the route. The pricing is still on auto-pilot, if you will. Any closer to your flight than these ranges and most cheap seats will be sold out. Within 2 or 3 weeks of a flight airlines assume you’re a business traveler (or a desperate one) that will pay whatever the fare is.
- When To Buy Cheap Flights – Data on when is the best time to purchase air tickets
- 12 Ways to Find Cheap Flights – Helpful and simple list of steps
- GetGoing.com – choose 2 possible destinations and get some pretty great deals.
- Buying Tip When Purchasing Group Tickets – from Rick Seaney
- When To Buy That Airplane Ticket – a review of the data from the NY Times
- How To Accumulate All Frequent Flier Miles In One Place – a super helpful post that every frequent flyer should read.
- How To Complain to the Airlines: Effective Ways to Get Ahead
- One Bag – The Art and Science of Traveling Light
- SeatGuru – Information on Airlines, Airplanes, and In-flight Amenities
- How to Get the Best Hotel Prices
- Best Website for Cheap Flights: Kayak.com
- Best Website for Hotels: Booking.com
- Best Website for Vacation Packages: Expedia.com
My name is Paul. These are my tips for finding cheap flights.
1. Look for Low Cost or Budget Carriers.
2. Pay a little extra for direct flights – they’re worth it.
3. Clear Browser Caches and Cookies.
4. Use Google Flights – it’s very good at finding cheap flights.
5. Subscribe to E-mails for Fares Alert. (There are many apps and services that provide updated information on cheap flights.)
Hi David, I’m looking to fly to Rome 5/28/18 to 6/4/18 from LAX. I’m currently looking at Norwegian Air’s direct flights — their lowest tier is about $850 and LowFare+ (with seat choice, checked bag, meals) is about $1k. The list of tips recommend I wait a few more weeks before buying but I was just wondering if you think it would still be a good idea to wait? Is it likely to drop in the next month? Thank you!
Yes, I have seen the cheap Norwegian flights to Europe from the US. They are a very good deal. I would buy them asap.
Great tips but still wondering what to do about this trip with specific dates. Can fly from either EWR or PHL (Seems to be a cheaper option) to Anchorage, Alaska late August and returning Labor Day weekend. Purchase now or wait? Thanks!
I would buy now, or at most, wait until January, but no longer than that.
Great article – thanks for the info.
I’m headed to Uganda in September. Would you say now is the time to book that flight?
Yes, I would be looking now for sure.
What’s your recommended timeline for booking international flights for Memorial Day Weekend? I.e. – NYC to Cancun for travel to Tulum.
I would buy them as soon as possible.
I am trying to book premium economy seats from Boston to London in July. Each non stop ticket costs about 1250.00
Kayak says to wait. Do you think the prices will go down? They seem high.
For premium economy tickets always call the airline.
Thank you for the great article and the links. I am planning a trip for my mom and dad to visit me from Yangon Myanmar (South East Asia) from end of May to end of November. Last year I noticed the tickets are a little bit cheaper compare to this year. Would you suggest to wait a little bit closer to May or should I book now? Thanks!
I would book by the end of January.
Hi, Great article. A question please. We are planning on going to Orlando from the Uk on the 20th of October of next year for 2 weeks (3 adults and 1 child). I have booked the flights out already to Miami for £759 for all of us from Manchester airport which is a great deal with Thomas Cook Airlines, then will drive to Orlando, but the return flights aren’t out yet. However the return flights are from Orlando International airport to Manchester are out for £1800. Which would mean we wouldn’t have the drive back to Miami. Should I wait for the return flights back from Miami to come out and risk the other going up or do you think the £1800 might go down in price? Thanks, Nicki Johnson
No guarantees, but I would wait. £1800 is a lot, and I think it likely those drop. Would be nice to save yourself the drive back to Miami – I think that’s worth at least a few hundred pounds.
Planning a trip to Europe (Paris, Interlaken, Florence, Rome) in mid-June this year. We are a family of 6 traveling from Singapore. Currently I am getting a non refundable/changeable flight from Singapore-Paris and Rome-Singapore on Lufthansa for ~S$800. Do you think I should book now or wait?
That’s a great price and yes, I’d book asap.
Hello. Nice article. Lots of great tips. I am going to be flying into Orlando in February, 2/11-2/18 and have some concerns about the flight cost. Right now Spirit is the cheapest well under $200 but all of the other airlines are well over $200. We want to stay as close to $200 as possible but DO NOT want to fly Spirit. Do you think that the other airlines will be dropped down at least closer to $200 mark within the next month or so?
Honestly, I don’t think the other fares will drop, only go up. I would book something soon (personally).
Hi What a fabulous site! Love it! I am planning a trip from London to Denver in July this year to visit family. I enquired with my local travel agent as to prices who told me that they weren’t out yet, but as soon as they were, I needed to book as we wanted to go in peak season. I have just looked at British Airways who fly direct and the price is £4883(family of 4 – 3 adults 1 child ). After reading your advice I am tempted to wait – it is 9 months away – and just keep an eye on prices. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks. Sara
If it were me I would wait a little (maybe until the lull after Thanksgiving). That said, that’s a decent fare so I wouldn’t feel gypped if you did decide to book.
I am planning to book tickets for July ’17(family of 4) from BWI – Hamburg, Germany. I have enough miles for all 4 tickets on British air. But fees and taxes are killing me. $773 per tickets. Just crazy. Do the fees and taxes ever go down? Should I wait or book ASAP
Taxes and fees won’t go down but they can be different depending what airports you fly through. You are likely flying via Heathrow or Gatwick which both have high taxes. If you could avoid flying through London it would probably be cheaper (that’s obviously hard if you’re limited to British Air).
I admire all your content with updated information to find cheap flights and air fares.
Thanks. I try to keep it updated – but don’t always succeed.
I liked your article.
I have a question. I was wondering how probable it is for Singapore Airlines to lower their fare? We are traveling on March/April to Tokyo and I think that airline has the best fare. I checked the price last month and now that I was ready to buy the tickets it was $450 more than what it was! I was going to wait and see if it drops but then it says “a few seats left”. I don´t want the prices to go up again.
So what do you recommend? Do I wait?
That’s a long way out, so personally I would wait until September or October to see what happens.
I have to travel India on 2 December. Should I book now or wait for booking till September. Considering December is busiest month, is it worth waiting?
I would book as soon as possible.
My husband and I are flying from San Francisco to Paris on August 31 and returning October 4. In the last several months, ticket prices have risen from $1400 – $1700 for economy seats. We fly every year and never pay anywhere near this for this much. Do you have any advice as to when we should book? We’d rather fly nonstop, but could do it with one short layover.
There are nonstop return flights between San Francisco and Paris with Delta/Air France for $985.
Hi! I was looking at flying to Hawaii and I decided to sign up for the United CC to save on luggage etc. well last Thursday when it was supposed to arrive…it didn’t, so I stupidly decided to wait another day, my flight round trip was still $671 4/16-4/24 Thursday night. Friday my card finally arrived and the flights jumped to $1032. I logged into my United account in expert mode and every flight still had plenty of T and L fares but it’s trying to sell me W fare on every flight, even if I change days, and even weeks, all are trying to sell W fares. Oh and of course lots of S fares available but not letting me book them. I won’t go if the flights are that much. Do you think they will come back down? Why would they not sell the remaining S and T and L fares? I tried calling United too, and the agent transferred me to the website support who told me they are all sold out, for the next several months (I don’t buy it). Input?
I agree. I would wait and I bet those seats become available. (I recently had a similar issue with Delta seats.) But there’s no guarantee. Prices can do anything, of course.
Thank you! It’s Tuesday and they still haven’t dropped. I’m still seeing lots of T and S fairs, etc. even when I search other places keeping my origin the same, not even to Hawaii, it’s only giving me W fares (even though other tickets are available to the other destinations). It’s weird, but I guess I’ll wait. Worst case I’ll have to drive 4 hrs to a big airport, but then the ticket is only $450, not United though. Thanks again!
My family is going on a cruise. I purchased one way tickets to Florida for $112 but can’t find a return flight under $300 from Fort Lauderdale to Boston on Sunday, May 1st. I would prefer to come home on Sunday but might end up having to return on Monday May 2nd if the price doesn’t come down. Unfortunately, I didn’t purchase them when they were $210. Should I take the gamble and wait, or would if be best to book now?
I would look for a couple more days then buy as tickets generally don’t come down, they go up (though there can be exceptions over the short term). For the cheaper Monday fares I’d be more inclined to book soon. For the more expensive Sunday fares, you probably have less to lose as you’ve already lost the discount so waiting on those has at least the chance of a cut.
Hi David. It is currently February and I am planning to travel from New York to London at the end of May. Last month, I found a ticket for $750 round trip and literally an hour later, the price of the ticket went up several hundred dollars. Tickets are now about $1000. Should I wait or purchase now?
Anna B Yates
There are direct flights from New York to London (return) with Norwegian for less than $600 and one-stop flights for less than $500 with Icelandair so you should easily be able to beat $1000.
Thank you for doing such thorough work! And, keeping it updated.
I am trying to book a VENICE Italy – ATLANTA Georgia roundtrip end of June with return end of August
with my 5-year old ; June 22 to August 30 to be exact.
Roundtrip prices with the Delta/KLM/ALITALIA group when I checked at the end of January were in the 540€ range per person.
Then I checked yesterday (Thursday) and they were in the €570 range pp.
This morning (Friday) they’re in the €680 range!
I am wondering if I should follow your suggestion and wait until early next week to see if sale prices are published (Monday-Wednesday) and buy my tickets then.
Right now we’re in the 20-21 weeks prior to departure range.
From your experience, what would you think might occur? Do you think they’ll just keep rising? Should I buy today or wait until early next week to see a sale?
I went through and checked the actual airline websites and their fares are higher than Expedia, Travelocity, etc.
Thank you again!
Yes, they will probably just keep going up. 540€ was a good price. 680€ is still not bad. Maybe wait until Monday or Tuesday and then buy.
Also, use a different browser to check prices. Websites can see that you’re a returning searcher and will bump the prices up (in an attempt to scare you into buying).
Wow! I had no idea the websites could bump up prices like that! thanks for the advice!
We traveled on Air New Zealand from SFO to BNE and return from SYD, with premium economy space seats, outbound September and return October. Price was USD 3935 for 2 persons, purchased June. Now price per person for similar flight September seems to be 50% greater, USD 3,000. I would appreciate any comment you have as to this increase and later pricing. Thanks. David Anderson
I have seen higher fares for some flights I was purchasing. But they came down after I waited a few weeks. So, perhaps have a little patience. No guarantees but it worked for me.
Very helpful information! Thank you! I am flying with my family of 3 from Las Vegas to London at the end of June. The tickets right now are almost 2000 round trip. That seems high. Should I wait until they are closer to 1000? I was hoping for something around 1200. Is that possible?
You’re right. That does seem high. However, tickets between now and June generally increase in price not decrease – so (on average) you’ll probably do worse the longer you wait. I would do a search every few days for the next 2 or 3 weeks and if you don’t see the price drop then you’re sort of forced to buy. (Unless the trip is optional in which case you could wait and just not buy if they don’t come down.)
I have planned on seeing 3 areas in Europe.
I have my flight from Canada to Antalya Turkey done, apparently that was the easy part. Leave Feb. 29.
I am wanting to fly from Dalaman, Turkey to Split, Croatia sometime around the last week of March, I am shocked at how much this will cost, and how long it will take—do you have any ideas? (I thought this would be easy, HaHa).
I am hoping my onward from Split to Prague in the middle of April will be easier, then Prague to London Gatwick last week of April. Any help you can give will be appreciated.
Not many flights on this route. If you can re-work your itinerary such that you fly between major cities (e.g. Istanbul to Prague) you’ll find much cheaper flights.
I am planning to book an open jaw ticket San Francisco-Paris, Mykonos-San Francisco leaving in late May, returning in mid June. The cheapest I have found using every site I know are around $1800. I was thinking a good price would be around $1300 – $1500, but it may be too late to get these fares. Do you think prices could drop some? Should I wait until January to book? Kayak is not able to give me a buy/wait recommendation.
Prices won’t come down but you might not be looking for the best ticket combo to get the best fare. Look for the San Francisco to Paris tickets on Kayak.com (return) but look for Mykonos to Paris flights on cheap budget airlines like Ryan Air or EasyJet.
Hi David, i am planning for a trip to Kochi from Phoenix starting in the last week of May for 5 weeks. I could see the fare starting 1300 +. i know it’s still 6 months but i am worried since it’s the vacation time. can I wait for until december to get some deals? what would be the best offer i can go for?
That sounds pretty reasonable to me. I think I’d grab that sooner rather than later.