When to purchase flight tix?

DLBDS

Loves that Sweetened Condensed Milk
Joined
Jun 21, 2005
I have zero experience buying flight tix. I’ve been monitoring one particular airline’s posted fee on a March 7th flight for a few weeks and it’s actually gone up $20. My mother says they will fluctuate up/down but I’m concerned it will only go up the closer it gets. Any advice? Do I wait or just suck it up and spend the big bucks ($196/per person/non-stop/one way).
 

krayzie

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 25, 2013
Ticket prices will go up and down. You need to find a price you are comfortable with paying and just buy it as you never know what the ticket prices will be next week. Once you get to about 3-4 weeks from your trip time, it will typically keep going up in price.

The date you are going is also important. If it's a popular travel date you will want to book earlier. IE flights around the holidays etc. I have a flight that typically costs around $130 that is already $270 for December 30th lol
 
  • Christine

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 1999
    So I just finished my 2-9 November Disney trip. I started *stalking* airline prices in July and I thought the flights were high. I live in the DC area and the DC to MCO route is usually fairly competitive. Those flights stayed pretty stable but at about 8 weeks out, they started to drop a bit. It seemed like 6 weeks out was the real sweet spot and I got awesome flight deals through both Southwest and Jetblue (non stops). That's when I booked, but it was a gamble and I was prepared to take the chance and book at a higher price or to actually drive if they flights didn't come down from what I was seeing in July. This ha really been my experience every time I fly so I'm a big believe in "waiting." But that all really depends on the individual market from where you live going to MCO. Some places have consistently low fares while other departure areas never seem to get a break.
     

    sam_gordon

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 26, 2010
    I can tell you EXACTLY when to buy tickets to get the lowest price, down the minute. In exchange, all I ask for is the next set of winning Powerball numbers. Deal?

    There is no magic time. There are no rules/logic for airfare. It all depends on when you're flying and where you're flying from/to. The best bet is to stalk the fares and book when you're comfortable with them. If you book on an airline that doesn't offer free changes, don't look again.
     

    TISHLOVESDISNEY

    Disney life. I am a happy wife.
    Joined
    May 9, 2007
    Piggybacking to ask if a flight has only a few seats booked, do you think it'll drop before it goes up?
    I am watching a flight in March that has first class seats almost gone, but only a handful of seats booked.
    It's a nonstop flight out of Omaha to MCO.
    I know Spring Break is a popular booking time, I just don't know what the usual prices are, as we drove last few Spring Break trips.
    :)
     
  • RogueX

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2019
    Just out of curiosity, where are you flying from to get that price? From Boston, it's tricky to get a fare less than $200 per person these days.

    From the travel agent perspective (I used to be one), I would say book sooner than later. A trick you can try is pricing out separate legs: fly one way on one airline and return on another. I've done this many times and it's saved me money. Sometimes it's a cost cutter, other times it's not.
     

    sam_gordon

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 26, 2010
    Piggybacking to ask if a flight has only a few seats booked, do you think it'll drop before it goes up?
    I am watching a flight in March that has first class seats almost gone, but only a handful of seats booked.
    It's a nonstop flight out of Omaha to MCO.
    I know Spring Break is a popular booking time, I just don't know what the usual prices are, as we drove last few Spring Break trips.
    :)
    Seat map is not an indication of what's booked. With the advent of "Basic Economy", seats could be sold but not claimed. Just guessing, but if most of the FC seats are gone, and you're talking spring break time, most of the seats are probably sold. People will save $$ by purchasing Basic Economy.

    NOTE: I'm assuming you're looking at seat maps to decide there's only a few seats booked.
     

    TISHLOVESDISNEY

    Disney life. I am a happy wife.
    Joined
    May 9, 2007
    Seat map is not an indication of what's booked. With the advent of "Basic Economy", seats could be sold but not claimed. Just guessing, but if most of the FC seats are gone, and you're talking spring break time, most of the seats are probably sold. People will save $$ by purchasing Basic Economy.

    NOTE: I'm assuming you're looking at seat maps to decide there's only a few seats booked.
    🤬 I didn't think about basic economy... I know Kayak says to wait, that the prices are high. I would prefer lower, but I want these direct flights....
    Thanks for the insight!

    (ETA: Yes, looking at seat map)
     
  • Christine

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 1999
    Personally, for a March flight, I'd wait at this point. I'd get serious around late December or early January, especially from North Carolina. But I've got a little bit of the gambler in me and, fortunately, haven't gone wrong yet.

    I also did what another person suggested for this past trip. I booked in one-way segments. My first leg of the journey to go "cheap" was my return from MCO to DCA. I got it for $69 on Southwest so I booked that first. The DCA to MCO was STUCK at $308 (can you believe that?). So I waited and waited. At 8 weeks out, my Southwest DCA to MCO started to drop down into the $198 range which was still too high for me. Then about a week later, JetBlue dropped their fares to $79 each way. At that point I was stuck with the Southwest return, but I just booked the one-way on the JetBlue and I had my desired fare. The low rates continued for about another week and eventually Southwest dropped down on the outbound flight.
     

    RogueX

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2019
    Yeah, that's a tough call. If you are monitoring sites that will send you alerts with price changes, that will help.

    I hope you find a good deal!
     

    Christine

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 1999
    Also, OP, I don't know what airline you are trying for. I really only wanted to fly JetBlue and Southwest. I got the app for both of them and, in doing so, provided my email address. While both of them sent me emails just about everyday, I also got the emails of them announcing their sales. If it wasn't for the JetBlue sale announcement email, I probably would have missed it as I was getting weary of checking the rates everyday. Previously, I also used apps like Skyscanner and another one I can't remember the name of (Flight Hopper??) and I would get alerts for the leg of my trips that dropped. Southwest doesn't participate with any of these flight alert places so you have to keep that in mind.
     

    Afabena

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 20, 2018
    I flew out in early Nov and booked our flights in August so about 2.5 months before our trip. I was constantly watching the prices and I realized they were slowly increasing day by day - that’s when I decided to book. We also booked one way flights but we used miles for the way out. Also, maybe worth mentioning but I ended up flying into TPA because the prices to MCO were so high. Even with renting a car for 6 days we still saved a ton of money over flying into MCO, and it was less miles to fly there. Plus it was nice to have a car. We ended up driving to HS and AK which worked out for us. Total time from landing to arriving at the resort was 2.5 hrs and we checked 2 bags. It was the same amount of time on the way home. 2.5 hrs from the time we left the hotel until we made it to our departure gate.
     

    gharter

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 3, 2004
    A lot depends on how large of an airport you are flying out of.
    Ours is a small airport with only 2 flights a day. The longer you wait, our prices go up.
    If we drive an hour to a larger airport, we have meny more options for flights, but not much difference in price.
    If you are flying out of a large airport, I would wait and watch teh prices as they often do drop.
     

    _19disnA

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 8, 2018
    I have been buying flight tix for about 30 yrs, and as a general rule, I have found that usually the further out you get it the cheaper it will be, and higher the closer it gets to your arrival date. A good idea is to buy them as soon as you can.
    That has been my experience as well. If you are flying to a popular destination or around any holiday, those tickets typically sell out very fast and you gain nothing by waiting. Airlines charge various amounts for seats on a given plane and once the cheapest seats are gone, the fare jumps to the next higher rate. The non-stop and best connections tend to sell out first since they are the most desirable. If your travel is vacation related, you also need to book your hotels since waiting could result in it being sold out or the combination of days when you get the best airline price might not match hotel availability.

    Airlines typically run sales to fill seats on the less popular destinations or at off peak travel periods. They have very little reason to run a sale on holiday flights that typically sell out at regular price. I agree as someone has previously said that waiting is no guarantee the price will go down and the best flights may no longer be available.
     

    DuskKodesh

    Marvel Hero in Training
    Joined
    Aug 11, 2019
    Just popping in to say that if your browser records you looking at flight tix you will get curated prices and offers. It's good to clear all your browsing data and cookies or even use a second browser if you have one then check your prices on the same flights.
     

    mamamelody2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2016
    I bought our SW flights for 1/25-2/1 the day they were released. $216 rt. Same flight is currently $418 and has been stuck at that price for a long time. Generally, the earlier you buy the better the price. But obviously that's not 100%. Really all you can do is buy when it's a price you can deal with and if you can't change it, just don't look again! LOL.
     

    Christine

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 1999
    I bought our SW flights for 1/25-2/1 the day they were released. $216 rt. Same flight is currently $418 and has been stuck at that price for a long time. Generally, the earlier you buy the better the price. But obviously that's not 100%. Really all you can do is buy when it's a price you can deal with and if you can't change it, just don't look again! LOL.
    I found Southwest to "stick" for a LONG time. As I said above, my outbound flight was $308 from about June through September. On September 11th, my return flight plummeted to $69. My outbound $308 flight dropped down to about $108 in mid September (this is for a November 2nd flight). They stayed down for a bit and then gradually crept up in October until about 2 weeks before the trip where the price shot up. Jetblue went up and down far more frequently than Southwest did. It was really odd to observe it all.
     

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