There is no doubt that flight prices have increased and, in many cases, almost doubled since the pandemic. There are many reasons for this increase. There were many layoffs during the pandemic and many flight attendants were offered a nice severance package to retire early as well as people in the industry looking for and finding other jobs during that time. Hence, it is taking a while for the airlines to staff as many flights as they have demand for. Frankly, they can get whatever price they ask because people are ready to travel! Fuel prices have certainly increased as well and the pent-up demand for travel has tripled. To understand the increases a bit more it might help to know what prompts an increase in price. Most people do not quite understand how a flight can increase in price even while they are in the process of booking it.
Studies have been done on which days are the cheapest to purchase flights. While many have heard that Tuesdays are the best days it is not necessarily true. More important than the day on which you purchase the flight is your travel day and time of the year. Holidays are notoriously expensive because of demand. If you know you will be traveling over a holiday period, you will need to book your flights many months in advance. (Flights are only available for purchase 331 days before traveling on some of the larger airlines. Some smaller airlines are less than that.) Flights are usually less expensive to purchase if you are traveling on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. Supposedly for domestic travel the cheapest flights are booked between 70 and 45 days before traveling. One of the studies performed by Google recommended the following times to book for these international areas:
If you have ever wondered what causes a flight to jump in price right before your eyes, it is because airlines base the price on the number of seats that have been booked. They only offer a certain number of seats at a certain rate, then go up from there. You can also see them go up one day and down another day because someone released the seats they were holding within the 24 hour period that you are allowed to cancel. Anyone that has the time can certainly keep checking the prices every day or two to see what happens.
One thing people also do not understand is the fact that group pricing is not always less expensive than buying the flights separately. When 50 seats are purchased with an airline the prices begin at the lowest rate, but as the number of seats adds up the next level of pricing adds into the cost. It is still better to book as a group, however, because if there is a change of aircraft or schedule, they will move everyone together. Booking as a group guarantees everyone being on the same flight.
One last tidbit is that many times a flight can be bundled with a hotel or car package with an agency that books through wholesalers, and it can save on both hotel and flight. We have seen some remarkable decreases at times, and it is certainly worth a try to compare!
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