Airfares: When is the Best Time to Buy?
I use to think that when buying an airline ticket to Europe, the mantra was, buying it earlier meant lower prices, However, a recent study shows that is not the case. If you buy too early, you will actually pay more for the same seat as if it was bought later! But, waiting until a few weeks before you depart is no good either.
In a study of airfares to Europe, where over 100 international markets were studied for nine months, the BEST time to buy your ticket is two to three months before you leave. For domestic travel, airlines tend to launch sales on Monday night, which means the cheapest prices are Tuesday and Wednesday. The study showed that 68% of the airlines have a sale starting on Monday night. International flight fares are largely governed by the air route taken and season booked. Also, the cheapest prices are always in February. Airfares are also lower in November and December. The worse time to buy a ticket to Europe is October, that is when they are the highest because it is peak travel period. If you have to travel during the peak season, summer, the cheapest time to buy is April. Airlines flying to Europe automatically include a $450 surcharge for fuel and taxes and fees can add another $200. This means the costs are included in the airfare. Most fares to Europe begin around $1000.
Here is an example:
Flying from New York to Paris in late July. If you bought the tickets in February, $1369; in April, $1292; in May (2-3 mos. away) only $1100; if you waited until now, $1329.
Flying from Boston to Frankfurt, Germany in late July. If you bought in March, $1500; in April, $1070; in May, $1450; in June, $964; if bought now, $1261.