Best time to book flights

Discover the best time to buy airline tickets to ensure you get the lowest lowest price.

Best time to book flights

Industry knowledge has long held that the best time to buy airline tickets are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and this belief has filtered down to the general population. But is this insider knowledge still accurate?

A new study, entitled Price Discrimination by Day-of-Week of Purchase, has found no evidence to back up the claim that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the time to shop for flights. Instead, the study found that tickets purchased on the weekend were on average, five per cent cheaper than similar tickets purchased during the week.

The study controlled for a large set of factors, from the day of the week, to whether the ticket was refundable, the number of days in advance that the ticket was purchased, how full the flights were and more. The study also found that the discounts were greatest for routes being travelled by a mix of business and leisure passengers - tickets to solely leisure destinations (such as the Whitsundays) tended not to be significantly discounted on any particular day of the week.

One of the study's authors, Steven Puller, explained that this price difference reflects a common practice known as 'price discrimination'. Price discrimination is where the same service is sold at different prices to different buyers, in this case based on the day of the week that the ticket is purchased.

He went on to explain that the study looked at an archive of actual tickets purchased, and that it compared tickets with similar characteristics, rather than simply looking at the cheapest fares available. It only looked at round-trip, non-stop services, and did not look at holiday travel periods such as Christmas and New Year's Eve.

"The software systems that are used in airline pricing are used in other industries such as cruises, hotels, car rentals... We've only analyzed airline pricing, but I wouldn't be surprised if similar pricing practices are used in these other industries as well," said Puller of the results.

Read more at the ScienceDaily website.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    19th Aug 2013
    interestingly the same flights perth bali return were cheaper at the travel agent than online
    Actual Cat
    19th Aug 2013
    Yes Marg, I've been dealing with a small agent and had international airfares that are cheaper too (Thai Airways).

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