Let’s discuss cheap flights. Everybody knows airlines are out to screw us over – no one really wants to be the individual who gets stuck paying the best fare. That’s why we spend hours upon hours before the computer, researching articles on airfare, and trying to game the machine like we’re wanting to outsmart a car or truck salesman.
I’ve discussed finding an inexpensive flight before – and even my process for booking a flight – but today I wish to discuss some persistent and inaccurate myths about booking a flight which have stuck around through simple inertia and lazy journalism.
There’s a whole lot of articles out there that may list “secret hacks” that may save thousands. “In the event that you book a flight on a Tuesday throughout a blood moon while sitting on one leg, you’ll get the least expensive flight possible!” Ok, that’s an exaggeration but I read a whole lot of articles that are straight-up inaccurate and outdated that, today, I would like to explain which “rules” are straight-up lies which means you don’t follow them, save hours of time, but still end up with an inexpensive flight!
MYTH #1: You Should Search Incognito
Plenty of websites will tell you firmly to use a browser’s “incognito mode” in order to avoid this. Turn them off, stop being tracked, and trick the machine, right?
Except this is simply not true at all.
There’s no evidence that airlines behave that way and numerous tests by booking companies show there is absolutely no variance in pricing by using incognito mode.
And, typically, when you abandon your cart, businesses discount prices to make you complete your purchase not raise them higher.
According to Scott of Scott’s Cheap Flights, the most popular bargain-flight websites,
“There’s no evidence that airlines are showing you a different price predicated on your cookies. We are mistaking airfare volatility for a Truman Show-esque interpretation that the airlines are out to improve fares on us. Airfare is continually changing, often per hour if not by when these days. Whenever a flight you’re looking at rises in cost, there’s a temptation to believe that it’s due to your cookies, but Occam’s razor is that the purchase price went up because airfare is continually changing.”
They searched the same Denver to London flight 100 times in a row, and on the first search and the hundredth search, the purchase price stayed a similar.
Another study by CheapAir found a similar thing.
The common economy fare changes 61 times every day. Airlines use sophisticated software to improve prices predicated on demand. Additionally, they put their inventory not only by themselves website but also on a huge selection of third-party websites so thousands of people are considering the same flights at any given moment. The machine is continually updating itself predicated on ticket sales and demand.
In the end, there are just so many seats on a plane. You merely can’t add more!
That’s why prices change.
Searching in incognito mode is merely not going to support you in finding a cheaper flight.
MYTH #2: It’s Easier to Book on a Tuesday
Back your day, most airlines used to drop flight deals on Tuesdays and that could result in other airlines following suit. Thus the old adage to book on Tuesdays.
But Hopper, a favorite cheap-flight app, analyzed the info and found that only one 1.6% of flights were cheaper on a Tuesday.
Nowadays, as I mentioned previously, airlines use dynamic pricing and artificial intelligence to constantly change their pricing. The algorithms look at a selection of factors: historical and current demand, seasons, weather, particular events, etc.
According to Scott,
“Some websites still claim there exists a single predictable time every week when fares are cheapest. When airfare was initially sold online, airlines and online travel agencies would often load their fares only once weekly, say, Tuesday at 2pm. There have been a restricted number of the least expensive fares available, therefore if you were among the first visitors to book right after the brand new fares were loaded, you truly could get a good deal. Nowadays airfare is changing per hour if not by when, driven less by humans plugging in fares every week and more by complex computer algorithms.”
So there’s no “best day to book.” Looking forward to a Tuesday likely won’t save hardly any money.
Book your flight on whatever day you want.
Myth #3: There exists a Perfect Time to Book
Airfares don’t actually change that dramatically. Until about 21 days before a flight, they are pretty steady. I recall speaking with the Google Flights team once plus they found there’s only typically a $50 difference between your highest and lowest price.
That doesn’t mean it couldn’t swing more radically. As I said, airlines change prices predicated on a whole lot of factors. Sometimes that $50 swing could possibly be $100 or $200 – but, barring a meeting that drives up demand, airfares have a tendency to maintain a narrow range up to 21 days before a flight.
From then on, because of antiquated rules, the machine thinks a “last-minute” flight – three weeks away or less – must mean a business traveler therefore fares rise. (So never book significantly less than 21 days before leaving!)
In most cases, the optimum time to book a flight is approximately 2-3 months ahead. Why?
A lot of people book about 2-3 months before each goes away. If you’re a family group going on holiday, you don’t just do it on a whim. You devote some time off work and plan months beforehand. So airlines understand that and about 2-3 months before a vacation is normally when prices reach equilibrium between supply and demand.
MYTH #4: Websites Can Predict Prices
Websites that predict prices are simply taking an informed guess predicated on historical pricing. Don’t put an excessive amount of stock in these predictions. Days gone by isn’t prologue and a spike popular or a concert or other event can transform the cost of a ticket outside its historical range.
I love the purchase price meter on Google Flights since it lets me know the overall historic price range of the fare. But any website that says “wait to book because prices are likely to decrease” is filled with shit.
Airfare is incredibly volatile. There are always a limited number of seats on planes and a large number of variables – from overall fiscal conditions to the price tag on oil to competition from new budget airlines to the issue of predicting travel interest for a particular flight 11 months from now. No-one knows what the near future holds. The recent pandemic is proof that modeling the near future doesn’t work.
These websites do not know what future airfare will be and so are just guessing.
As Scott echoes:
“It’s vital that you distinguish between when is cheapest to visit so when is cheapest to book. We realize a whole lot about when it’s typically cheapest to visit: January through March and September through November. That’s not saying there should never be cheap flights in June. Think about it as an NBA game: because one team is favored doesn’t mean there’s never an upset. That is all to state that anyone who claims to have cracked the code and also predict with certainty whether a flight half a year from now will rise or down in cost does you a disservice.”
MYTH #5: There is One Best Booking Website
Why do you see prices change from website to website? Third-party websites often buy tickets in bulk and the costs depend a whole lot on what booking class they’ve purchased (usually they choose the cheapest & most restive fares which explains why those flights are always unchangeable). Plus, again, a large number of people could possibly be booking at once therefore as the cheaper seats go, the costs rise!
That’s why, while I really like Skyscanner and Momondo, I check plenty of other websites before I actually book.
But, while I really like them, remember: there is absolutely no single best website out there for flights.
Prices vary among each one of these platforms. That’s why you must search multiple websites and meta-search engines.
There’s no best booking website, only the very best one during booking.
Any article that claims showing you the “secret” to cheap airfare is most likely too good to be true – because if it did wonders, airlines would have end it in the past. You can’t outsmart the airlines. You can only just bend the system in your favor.
There’s hardly any magic bullet to locating cheap airfare.
Just as much as most of us want there to be one.
Book Your Trip: Logistical Guidelines
Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s, because they search websites and airlines around the world which means you always know no stone has been left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld because they have the biggest inventory. If you wish to stay somewhere apart from a hostel, use Booking.com, because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and hotels. I take advantage of them all enough time.
Don’t Forget TRAVEL COVER Travel cover will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in the event anything goes wrong. I never embark on a trip without it, as I’ve had to utilize it many times during the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for a decade. My favorite companies offering the very best service and value are:
- World Nomads (for everybody below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for all those 70 and over)
Looking to discover the best companies to save lots of money with? Have a look at my resource page to get the best companies to use when you travel! I lis