Are you paying a lot on airfare? Tips on when to buy plane tickets for less.

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Ever wondered when to buy plane tickets so that you can find the cheapest plane tickets. When is that “prime booking window” your friends who go on vacations all the time like to boast about hitting? Are you looking for cheap plane tickets? How is it that you ended buying your tickets for $200 more than the person sitting next to you in the coveted window seat?  It’s all about timing.

Before I answer your questions, I will let you in on a small secret.  Airlines use something called airline revenue management software that calculates airline ticket prices real-time and seats are sold based on what’s going to keep those planes flying and making money.  So a seat on a flight to Paris could be one price today and a totally different price tomorrow.  It gives the airlines the upper hand but it’s still possible to buy plane tickets at a discounted price.

Click here to book plane tickets.

Buying plane tickets can be frustrating.  The cost of plane tickets can be expensive.  But no need to worry! In this article, I’m giving you a heads up on cheap airplane tickets by discussing tips on:

  • how to get cheap plane tickets
  • the best place to buy airline tickets online
  • when to buy plane tickets for domestic flights to save money
  • when to buy plane tickets for international flights to save money
  • when is the best time to buy plane tickets to catch the lowest priced flights
  • the best day of the week to buy airline tickets

To book delta plane tickets, click here.

when to buy plane tickets

Where are you staying once you get there?  Research hotel prices by clicking here.

How the internet has changed the way we shop for plane tickets

Before the days of the internet, you either had to go to your neighborhood travel agent or call the airlines directly to find plane tickets.  Back then we had to trust that the price we were being quoted by these entities were honest and not inflated.

The internet has given the consumer a bit of a leg up when it comes to shopping for cheap round trip plane tickets. The major airline carriers now compete with low-cost airline carriers for routes and customers.  There are now 6 low-cost airlines in the United States:

  1. Allegiant Air
  2. Frontier Airlines
  3. JetBlue
  4. Southwest Airlines
  5. Spirit Airlines
  6. Sun Country Airlines

It has forced all airlines to become more cost-friendly. The consumer now has choices when it comes to who they fly with and the means to compare plane ticket prices.

 

To book Allegiant plane tickets, click here.

 

How to book plane tickets in the age of the internet

Where to buy plane tickets? The best place to buy plane tickets is conveniently at home in front of your computer.  The best way to buy plane tickets is through an airfare booking website. There are a number of airfare booking website where you can buy plane tickets online. The best way to find cheap flights is to shop around and compare when looking for cheap airline tickets.

Some airfare sites (not all) charge a ticketing or booking fee that increases the actual price of the airfare.  It is now a requirement that airlines and booking sites be transparent about the associated airfare fees so read the fine print – know what you’re paying for.   The best site to buy plane tickets is Airfare Watchdog.  Another favorite booking site for discounted airfare is Expedia.com.

Best websites to buy plane tickets:

What I love about Airfare Watchdog is that it is a search engine that compares deals on plane tickets across a number of airfare booking websites. And you can be alerted when prices drop.

I must add another site; Southwest.com.  Although this site only focuses on one airline there’s no getting past the fact that being able to bring your luggage along with you free of charge is very attractive. And if you book at least two weeks in advance and/or during one of their promotions, you can save lots of money.

So what if you use a travel agent to book a flight?  You could actually be paying more with a travel agent.  Here’s why: most travel agents add on booking fees to the price of the airfare.  And they should because the airlines no longer pay travel agents commission on airfare.

To book Hotwire plane tickets, click here.

when to buy plane tickets

When to buy plane tickets for domestic flights

When should you book to find those coveted discount plane tickets? Don’t book your flight too far out.  But don’t wait until the last minute!

For 2019, the best time to book an airfare deal for flights inside CONUS (continental United States) is 70 days in advance. The period of time where flights tend to be at least 5% cheaper, known as the prime booking window, is 21-121 days in advance.

Ahhh, but do airfare prices fluctuate according to the time of year that you plan on traveling?  YES!  (Damn that airline revenue management software!).  If your travel plans are in:

Winter

  • Prime Booking Window – 21-110 days before departure
  • Best day to book – 62 days before departure

Spring

  • Prime Booking Window – 46-122 days
  • Best day to book – 90 days

Summer

  • Prime Booking Window – 14-160 days
  • Best day to book – 47 days

Fall

  • Prime Booking Window – 21-100 days
  • Best day to book – 69 days

*Please note: this is just a guide.  Times/dates are approximate.

The airfares are higher before and after the prime booking window.  Thus, book too early and you will probably pay 5% more than the cheap tickets; wait until the last minute to book and you might pay 25% more or worse.

Find the best airfare prices here.

When to buy plane tickets for international flights

When should you buy airline tickets for international flights? The prime booking window for international flights is longer because international plane tickets are two and a half more expensive than domestic flights.  And the prime booking window is dependent on location, season (low vs high) and festival/events with large gatherings. What really sucks is that there is lots of price fluctuation for international flights due to the long booking windows.  Here are the prime booking windows international flights by travel region:

Caribbean

  • Prime booking region:  36-321 days before departure
  • Best day to book: 207 days before departure

Mexico and Central America

  • Prime booking region:  14-174 days before departure
  • Best day to book: 70 days before departure

South America

  • Prime booking region:  37-320 days before departure
  • Best day to book: 110 days before departure

Europe

  • Prime booking region:  50-252 days before departure
  • Best day to book: 160 days before departure

Asia

  • Prime booking region:  40-231days before departure
  • Best day to book: 120 days before departure

So, let’s talk more about those last-minute airfare deals?  It’s a big risk waiting until the last minute (20-14 days in advance).  But hey; who doesn’t like a good game of roulette?  There is a slim chance you could beat the odds and score last minute cheap airline tickets.  Every once in a while you might get lucky and catch that last-minute deal. However, most consumer airline surveys say airlines jack up the price of last-minute airfare because you’re desperate and will pay about anything for your plane ticket.

When is the best time to buy plane tickets

When is the best time to buy the cheapest plane tickets? Some experts say there isn’t a “best time to buy plane tickets”.  The time of day doesn’t matter.  I disagree.

When’s the best time to buy plane tickets?  My advice is this: the cheapest time to buy plane tickets is mid-morning/mid-afternoon when folks are at work and late night/early morning when most folks are sleeping.  Don’t ask me why, but from personal experience, I’ve found that these are the best times to buy plane tickets.

when to buy plane tickets

What is the best day to buy plane tickets

I find that the cheapest day to buy plane tickets is Tuesday morning.  This is the best day to purchase plane tickets and find great deals.  Most of us in the U.S. are at work so low demand=perfect time for a drop in airfare. Monday is the worse day to buy plane tickets.

when to buy plane tickets

Tip for the solo woman over 50

Traveling by yourself allows you to be flexible when it comes to travel dates. Use that flexibility to score the cheap tickets by traveling on the cheap days; Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday.  Click here for deals on airfare.

So if you’re seated in a window seat for your next flight (aisle seat for those of us who hate crawling over folks to get the bathroom) and you’ve paid the proverbial sweet spot for that plane ticket be sure to stop by this blog and tell mama all about it.

 

Looking for more information on traveling solo over 50?  Click on the following:

2 comments On Are you paying a lot on airfare? Tips on when to buy plane tickets for less.

  • Hi,
    I’ve been searching for a more mature women’s blog who travels solo based in the US, and I finally found yours! At 58, I’ve traveled here & there, and am interested in traveling to many places that my husband isn’t. Reading several of your posts has already answered a few questions I had. I have recently decided to travel with a backpack only, and am so glad it works for you. I too was wondering about staying in hostels, and thanks to you, I’ll look into them. I usually fly on Southwest, but appreciate your recommendations for the best airfare websites. Thank you again for writing about your travels,
    Laurie Lasala-Tuttle, San Juan Capistrano, CA

    • Thank you Laurie! I’m always happy to hear from other women my age who aren’t afraid to go it alone if they have to. Happy trails to you!

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