There’s a way to beat the airlines at their own game


Do you find the modern world of buying plane tickets to be incredibly frustrating? One day, a ticket may be £150, the next it could be as high as £400! That is outrageous, but true. Air tickets are wildly sensitive to supply and demand and savvy airlines know how to jack up their prices or lower them depending on how many ticket sales their making or what price their competitors are selling tickets. But there are ways to get around this. You can save and enjoy your trip more knowing that the greedy airlines did not rip you off!

The easiest and most basic rule is to buy your tickets about two months in advance. This is how far out most airlines build their schedules and start to fill up their planes. But the planes will still be empty and lots of tickets to sell. You can often snatch up the best price here. This isn’t always the case — there are times when an airplanes supply exceeds their demand and they have to have last-minute firesales, but you’re better guaranteed to get a good price on average for the dates you want when you buy eight weeks out.

What if you don’t have eight weeks? Well, this takes a savvier customer. The best time to buy is almost a science. Travel experts have determined that 3 p.m. on Tuesday is the absolute best time to buy an airplane ticket, and weekends are the worst time. Why? Well, as the week goes on, planes fill up, and most people think to put off travel plans till their workweeks are almost done. On the weekends, airlines themselves may not have as big of staff and prices will automatically jump up as tickets sell. When the airline sales agents are back in their offices on Monday, they may lower their prices to adjust a human-determined market reality. Which leaves Tuesday afternoon — long enough for the airlines to lower expectations, but early enough that demand hasn’t upped the price right back up.

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at

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