Have you ever wondered why your seat mate paid a different price for the same Flight? Usually a lower price? Airline ticketing is a complex process. The more you know about how seat pricing works the better equipped you are for beating the system. The Travel Experts at Luggage Factory have compiled all the info you will need to understand the price of your ticket and how to beat the system to get the best price. It’s also how we travel cheaply all over the world * hint hint *
What goes into a plane ticket?
Plane tickets cover the Base Fare + Taxes + Airport costs + Operating cost + Seat Selection + Luggage + Administration fee. The Base Fare however is determined by the Class, competition on the route (how many other people want your seat) types of passengers, destinations, flight date and time, purchase date and seat supply and demand.
Airline Ticket Price Points
Business Traveler: Less price conscious and prone to buy last-minute ticket. They usually end up paying higher – end prices. Business and first class tickets.
Leisure Traveler: Ultra Price Conscious, flexible on travel dates and destinations. They usually end up paying lower-end prices and Leisure Tickets.
Airlines set booking classes to maximize profit. Airline ticket prices are set to charge different prices to different groups of customers since different travelers have different perception of value. Each booking class has a different price based on factors such as: refundability, travel restrictions, stay restrictions, booking cost and purchase date. Tickets for business class cost almost three times as much and they are refundable, booked 2 days before departure and usually return on a Friday. Tickets for economy class are non-refundable, booked 6 weeks before departure and return on a Saturday. There may be 100 seats in economy, but there may be only 10 seats in each different price tear.
Why do Prices Fluctuate?
Airline ticket prices change depending on seat demand. Airline use sophisticated computer programs that are constantly monitoring flights, to analyses booking patterns, and evaluate the changing number of seats available. At high demand, they increase seat prices by reducing the number of seats available at their lowest fare, or wipe them out altogether. When the seat demand is low however more seats may appear at fare levels that were previously “sold out”.
The process happens continuously until just a few hours before departure. Generally over time, fares on a flight will raise as more seats are booked and more fare levels are closed.
Can you get a cheap last minute flight?
You might expect airlines to lower their prices in the day before departure to occupy the last seats, but the opposite happens. Closer to departure date, the only seats available tend to be in the more expensive booking classes. Selling a few of their remaining seats at a premium is more profitable than selling more at the regular price
Tips to secure that cheap flight.
Flying on certain days of the week can result in cheaper ticket prices. Usually Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Saturday are cheaper, Friday and Sunday are the most expensive.
Book in advance – the cheapest fares can be found by booking between 54 and 66 days in advance of the actual departure date.
Depart or arrive at a less convenient time – departing at the least popular travel times tend to be cheaper: very early morning and after dinner.
Minimum Stay. Stay at least two nights, or stay on a Saturday night
Don’t book TOO early – Six months or a year in advice, revenue margins don’t have enough data to forecast demand and tend to pick a default level that’s conservative
Have a stopover- often the cheapest airfare is forbidden on non-stop routes.
Avoid Blackouts – Christmas, Easter, school holidays and summer holidays season are typically blacked out due to high passenger traffic.
Check prices for one passage first- Before buying airline tickets for the whole family, research for a ticket for one passenger and then compare the price to that quoted when buying multiple tickets.
The more you know about how the airline ticket system works, the more you can make that system work for you – so remember the tips above when searching for your next cheap flight.