Friday is the Worst Day of the Week to Buy Flights
If you want the best deal on flights for the Christmas break, then don't rush into buying tickets today - wait until Sunday. A new study has revealed that the best deals go on sale then - which can be 13% cheaper than flights bought on a Friday.
The research, from Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation, said that Sundays are cheaper because the airlines know that this is when leisure travellers book - and that high prices will put them off. Business travellers, meanwhile, will book their journey during the week, and are prepared to pay a higher price for the journey that's most convenient.
Friday is particularly expensive because the airlines will raise prices in tranches, and those price hikes tend to be implemented on a Friday.
The second cheapest day to buy flights for 2016 is Tuesday (which actually emerged as the cheapest overall in 2015). This is typically because the airlines will weigh up sales at the beginning of the week, and if they haven't hit targets, will dump more cheap flights into the market on Tuesday.
How long in advance?
The day of the week that you book is only part of the picture. You also need to buy the right length of time before the trip. In some cases, the best time will be just before you plan to travel. The idea is that travel companies will set a price, and then as the date of the flight approaches, if it hasn't sold enough tickets, it will gradually drop the price. Cuts will begin around a month before the date of departure, and by the day before the flight itself, prices will be at rock bottom.
However, for this to work, it requires there to be lots of unsold seats left just before the flight. It means that if you are travelling at a time of peak demand - like the school holidays - there's a much higher chance they will sell out and prices never have to come down. The last-minute approach will also be harder to make work for you if you need to travel on specific dates or to a particular destination.
Research Confirms: Don't Wait Until the Last Minute - Prices Don't Always Go Down!
Research from Kayak identified the price you pay for leaving things to the last minute and getting it wrong. On all flights to European destinations, the average price for a return flight is around £160 a month before, whilst the day before is £250 which is 66% more expensive.
To North America, meanwhile, the average price for a return flight is £600 two weeks before, whilst the day before is £700 which is 17% more expensive. And for flights to Asia, the average price for a return flight is £610 seven months before, whilst the day before is £690 which is 13% more expensive.
Instead, it's worth trying to get in as early as possible, just after the flights have been released. If you sign up for newsletters and follow airlines on social media, you can buy your tickets within minutes of them going on sale - and will get the first few cheap tickets available for the flight.
This article was first published by Sarah Coles on December 11th, 2015 in Money.AOL.co.UK.