The best time to buy airline tickets

A study just out reports that passengers who bought tickets six weeks in advance paid below the average airfare.

The Pulse is up today on news that a little planning (but not too much) could save you some cash on your next flight.

Are you that traveler who sets online fare alerts and hopes to find a great deal at the last minute? Or do you buy your airfares six months in advance, when the real savings are supposed to be had? If one of those scenarios describes you, a recent study by ARC, a travel services company, says you may want to rethink your strategy.

The report found that in 2011 the airfare “sweet spot” for flights taking off and landing in the U.S. was actually six weeks advanced purchase, when fares dipped 5.8 percent below the average ticket price of $358.30. That’s a savings of about $20 per flight, or the price of a Miller Lite and some crackers.

The study found no noticeable benefits to buying your ticket 14 weeks or more in advance, but passengers who waited until the week they flew paid almost 40 percent more than the average airfare.

*Graphic courtesy Airlines Reporting Corporation

About the author

Joel Patterson is the Associate Producer of Marketplace Money.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...