“Book last-minute flights – they are cheaper….” Have you ever heard that?
That if you wait until the last minute to book your flight that you could actually get a cheaper ticket? If you have, we hope you were lucky and it worked. If not, well, there are a few things you should know before you try.
So is it cheaper to book last-minute flights?
To be honest, waiting until the last minute to book a flight isn’t the best idea. It is really rare for airlines to reduce their prices just before their scheduled departure dates. This is especially true at peak times – Christmas, summer, national holidays and so on.
If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a last-minute flight because you were waiting for some promo to show up, it’s better to book your tickets well in advance. Book at least two or three months before the date you want to travel, especially if you’re planning to travel during a peak season like Christmas. Ideally, you should book no more than 30 days before your flight.
Why are flights more expensive closer to the travel date?
Let’s look at this example of a round-trip flight to Manila for Christmas:
- Bought in June, the ticket cost $1100
- The same ticket bought in December cost $1500
There’s quite a difference between the cost of Christmas flights booked in June and in December. The tickets cost around $500 more. But why?
- Airlines price their seats in blocks. They make a certain percentage of the seats available early at a very low fare, but not all the seats.
- Fewer seats are available closer to the travel dates. That’s why the value of remaining tickets is higher.
- Airlines are well aware that passengers who really need to travel will still book a flight even if they have to pay more.
When are last-minute flights cheaper?
The only time when last-minute flights might be cheaper is in low season (during winter – except Christmas – early autumn, spring, and shortly after New Year etc). Then people don’t travel as much and airlines are afraid that they might not be able to fill all the seats on the plane.
The low season is the only time when airlines consider it reasonable to reduce their fares so close to the departure date, and then you might be able to find last-minute flights to anywhere for a good price.
Can you count on very last-minute flights?
Usually, people who book last-minute flights are in a rush, have an emergency, need to go on a business trip or simply like to go on last-minute vacations. Last minute flyers keep in mind that they’ll have to pay more.
If you don’t have a particular travel date and you’re not limited by time, check booking sites once or twice a week for last-minute deals. However, it can take between a few days and a few weeks to find a ticket that’s actually cheaper than booking safely in advance.
Of course, from time to time airlines do announce last-minute flight sales, but when or if this actually happens isn’t set in stone. To find these deals you have to regularly check various airline websites and flight search engines. It’s a very time-consuming process.
Be on alert for last-minute flights
If you need to book last-minute flights, you need to keep your eyes peeled to keep track of what the market price is so you will know what to expect to pay. So at least if there does happen to be a last-minute deal, you will be able to recognize it!
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So how can you find get extremely cheap last-minute flights?
Call our expert travel agents to organize your last-minute travel. And remember, a ‘cheap’ last-minute deal is likely to cost considerably more than if you had booked in advance. Our travel agents are working with flight itineraries all the time, and so they know how to get cheap last-minute flights organized for you. You can find out more about how flights are priced here.
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