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When is the best time to book a flight? How far in advance?

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by Kisby, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Kisby

    Kisby Low-Roller

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    especially SWA. They seem high right now. I've heard that 45 days in advance is optimal. True?
     
  2. UKFanatic

    UKFanatic The Arbiter of Taste Caviar Kid

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    That's usually a good rule of thumb, but it can vary based on demand. If the dates you are looking at are already more expensive than the dates around it, that's probably a sign of high demand for those days
     
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  3. bdautch

    bdautch VIP Whale

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    On Feb. 7, SWA will open their calendar through Sept. 3...the exact day I'm headed to Vegas. To be honest, my best SWA experiences have been reserving the exact precise day---first thing in the morning, no less--because even by 1 pm or so on Feb. 7, the rates will have risen a little. Once I miss those deadlines, the pricing seems to be variable based on demand from Point A to Point B. I've had trouble making rhyme or reason of it.
     
  4. paperposter

    paperposter Well-Known Member

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    when the price is cheapest
     
  5. BTSyndrome

    BTSyndrome Low-Roller

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    Next trip is March Madness. (Stupid busy)
    I only fly direct to Vegas on SWA and always book with points.
    I booked 2 hours after they opened up the schedule for 19,778 which = $298
    I check every day at different times and it has not been lower yet. Currently it is 45,521 or $656

    In years past I would have already re-booked 3 or 4 times lowering the cost, getting it at the lowest about 40-60 days out.
    But I don't expect it to go anywhere close to what I booked day one this year. (to much demand)

    If I was booking today for this trip I would choose to leave the day before since it is significantly cheaper.
    Each situation is different and you must plan accordingly.
     
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  6. tee6395

    tee6395 Downtown Dreamer

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    I have found two times to be the cheapest. Over 4 or so months in advance and then again around 4-5 weeks. I also find that Tuesday and Thursday mornings have worked well. My flights are pretty cheap anyway...SJC to LAS, so YMMV.
     
  7. vegasdev

    vegasdev VIP Whale

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    it can vary, but normally, once you are inside of 45 days, you can't catch a break.
     
  8. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    It's going to be different for every airline, every market and even itinerary within a market. The only way to be able to predict it for your itinerary is to look every day for an extended period of time (years).

    Examples:
    • From BOS, on Southwest, most of the time the cheapest price is when the schedule comes out. That price may stick for a few weeks, or a couple of months
    • Normally the best days to book are Tues - Thurs, and Saturday, but I have seen good prices pop up randomly on a Sunday once or twice
    • The price for connecting through MDW or DEN may fluctuate while the price for connecting in other cities doesn't
    • I have seen Southwest have drastic price drops inside one week til departure, but only a couple of times
    • The behavior can be different in the winter vs summer
    All these articles about the best time to book are averages of tens of thousands of itineraries and are totally useless. The only way to get a good price is to KNOW what a good price is to begin with, and the only way to do that is to look every day until you know what the best price ended up being and when it happened.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  9. steveks225

    steveks225 Tourist

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    It’s almost become comical, but since I go to LAS twice a year, not too long after I come home from the last trip is when I start to look to book the next one. I came home October the 16th and booked a flight on SWA three days later for early March. The price has not dropped, nor is it likely to drop significantly before takeoff. It used to be that I’d look at SWA for fare sales around Thanksgiving, and then around Memorial Day, but like a lot of things, you just have to guess when things may be at their lowest and then book. At least with SWA if you book and the price drops, you can rebook and either get a credit on the credit card you used to book or apply the difference to a future flight.
     
  10. jon_vegas

    jon_vegas High-Roller

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    For SWA, book on a tuesday since that's usually when they have their sales. At least 2-3 weeks in advance. But you can always rebook for no fee it it goes down. So, I'd book it but then keep checking regularly if price changes.
     
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