So…how are airfares calculated and can you trick the system to your advantage?
So…how exactly are airfares calculated?
- Day and time of booking – Airlines adjust their prices based on supply and demand at different times and days of the week (source). Fridays and weekends tend to be expensive. Many airlines role out offers on Mondays and Tuesdays; analysis by Hopper.com found out that Tuesday at midnight is the best day of the week to book.
- Weeks in anticipation – Prices for flights usually increase as the date of departure arrives (source). The largest hikes usually come after 20 days before departure.
- Where you book your ticket from – Some airlines use your location to determine how much you should pay for an airfare (source). Buying a ticket from AMS from BCN from Thailand can be cheaper than buying it from the Netherlands.
- Cookies and tracking – Airlines place tracking cookies in your devices. Some airlines increase their prices after they notice you checking a certain flight and not buying it immediately (source).
- Seasonality – Some destinations are more expensive during certain times per year than others. For example Barcelona in summer can be over 50% more expensive than in Winter.
- Hub or not hub – “Airlines often price tickets from one city to another through a hub cheaper than flights that terminate at the hub. More details here.
Can I trick the system to my advantage?
- Easy – Price alerts: Websites like Momondo, Expedia, Kayak, and Skyscanner can provide you with price alerts and other information that can help you asses whether the current price is overpriced or underpriced. I especially like Momondo since it provides statistical predictions for price increases based on days before booking, day of the week for departure, and season.
- Easy – Smart booking times – The best time to book a ticket is Tuesday around midnight or Wednesday morning, avoid booking on Fridays and weekends.
- Easy – Clear your cookies – Clear your cookies or use Chrome’s Private browsing.
- Medium – Change your location – This article explains the concept.
- Pro – Fuel dumping – The final price in an air ticket consists on several things including 1) The base fare for the airline, 2) Country and airport Taxes, 3) Airline surcharge (YR). There is a whole community in the internet that is dedicated to finding hacks to reduce or completely eliminate the airline surcharge (which in many cases can be even larger than the base fare. Here is a basic guide to give you an idea.
**Sources within article**
Author: Dirk Breeuwer – 329445