For anyone looking to book a flight for their next big adventure, the special number to buy a domestic plane ticket is 54 days in advance.
According to CheapAir.com, 54 days prior to a trip is the ideal date to purchase a flight in 2015. The company discovered that eight weeks ahead is a good time to start shopping for airfare after examining three million itineraries. However, CEO Jeff Klee offered a disclaimer to CNN Money:
“This isn’t a magic number that you can send a calendar reminder to yourself to book your flight.”
Since plane tickets change unpredictably for all airlines, it’s never a guarantee. It appears that the safe prime booking window for good prices is approximately 3.5 months to three weeks before.
The travel company executive reported that a savvy airfare shopper saved an average of $345 with the lowest price in comparison to buying during peak times. Although planning things early doesn’t quite guarantee the lowest savings either, travellers tend to have a wider selection of flight times and dates. Booking six and a half to 11 months ahead costs an average of $50 more than prices at prime time.
This doesn’t mean that early planners don’t reap benefits. Those who procrastinate on booking are charged a minimum of $75 or more than the lowest-priced ticket when buying tickets a week to 13 days ahead. People who tend to wait to the very last minute pay almost $200 more than during prime booking time if it’s seven days ahead.
On the bright side, fliers who procrastinate on booking haven’t been penalized as badly last year than in previous years. Klee said:
“That doesn’t mean you are getting a great deal you couldn’t have gotten earlier, it just means you aren’t getting killed.
“The single biggest factor that determines the prices for a flight is how full it is.”
As Klee explained, the fuller a plane is the more expensive the tickets are. It’s advisable to plan accordingly for big holidays such as Christmas and popular travel destinations during peak seasons such as Spring Break.