When planning a trip, many people start by looking for cheap flights. But finding the best deals can be tricky. Are the cheapest flights found at the last minute, or months in advance?
To find the cheapest flights, it's important to understand how airlines set their fares. Airlines use computer algorithms to set their prices, which are based on factors such as:
How many seats have already been sold
How likely it is that more seats will sell
Prices paid in previous years
Demand is the most important factor that airlines consider when setting prices. If there is high demand for a flight, the price will be higher. If there is low demand, the price will be lower.
Airlines also consider the reason why people are flying. Leisure travelers and business travelers have different priorities. Leisure travelers are often willing to book flights in advance, so airlines can offer them lower prices to encourage them to book early. Business travelers often book flights at the last minute, so airlines can charge them higher prices.
In general, the best time to book flights is 1-3 months in advance for domestic flights and 2-8 months in advance for international flights. However, the best time to book can vary depending on the specific flight and the time of year.
It's also important to be flexible with your travel dates. If you can fly on off-peak days or during the shoulder seasons, you'll often find cheaper flights.
Finally, don't be afraid to shop around. Compare prices from different airlines and travel websites to find the best deal.
Here are some additional tips for finding cheap flights:
Sign up for email alerts from airlines and travel websites. This way, you'll be notified of any sales or discounts.
Use a flight search engine to compare prices from different airlines.
Consider flying into a smaller airport. Flights to smaller airports are often cheaper than flights to major airports.
Be willing to fly with a budget airline. Budget airlines often offer lower fares, but they may have stricter baggage restrictions and fewer amenities.