When is the cheapest time to book your flight?

We could all do with knowing when the cheapest time to book your flight is.

What’s the problem?

Research by global travel search site Skyscanner has revealed when to book flights and average fares, in order to help customers to save money on their travel in 2014. The study showed 88%* of travellers admitted they did not know, or were not sure, when the optimum time for booking flights was, while a further 79% wouldn’t know on first glance if a flight price offered good value. I count myself amongst those numbers. I have no idea.

plane

So when is the best time?

The research revealed that the cheapest flight tickets from the UK are typically available five weeks in advance of travel, however three years of booking data also shows that price patterns can vary by type of airline and between short and long haul travel and so it does depend on destination

Flights to Spain were at their cheapest just five weeks before;  flights to USA should be booked more than four months before departure.  Customers looking to book flight to Turkey should be able to find the best prices 13 weeks before departure, while the best prices to Greece can be found  three weeks in advance.

“Customers need to understand that they are taking a gamble if they wait until closer to departure before booking and may find that they have missed the best flight prices.  Our analysis suggests that the best way to find a flight at the best price is to plan ahead and do your research.”

What is a good price?

The study found that researching flights was difficult for people, with almost 80% of travellers admitting they wouldn’t know on first glance if a fare offered good value for money.  To help with this  Skyscanner has provided the average August fares for the top 10 most popular summer destinations:

Britain’s leading Summer destinations

Average return flight price for summer pp

Best time to book (weeks before departure)

Greece

£228

3 weeks

Spain

£153

5 weeks

Portugal

£195

5 weeks

Turkey

£256

13 weeks

USA

£764

21 weeks

Cyprus

£251

4 weeks

France

£160

6 weeks

Croatia

£195

6 weeks

Italy

£185

6 weeks

Germany

£185

9 weeks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Hope that helps!

 There are also some simple rules to bear in mind to get the best price:

1.       Book smart: Avoiding peak season travel and flying at less popular hours of the day, can really help to lower costs.

2.       Be flexible:  Costs to different destinations can vary significantly depending on the airlines operating that route and the UK airports offering these flights. If you are planning your next trip but are open to destinations, running a search to ‘everywhere’ can help find the countries that offer the best value flights at any time.

3.       Compare and contrast: Using a travel comparison site like Skyscanner allows you to compare the widest range of airlines and online travel agents, so you’ll be able to see where you can get the best deal.

4.       Track prices Skyscanner’s analysis has found that keeping an eye on the flight prices a few months in advance of travel, is the best way to find a good value flight. Using a flight tracker price alert service, either by email or via the app can help monitor when prices drop on a chosen route.

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Comments

  1. Maggie Owen says:

    This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing – I always wonder when the best time to book is, as you said it can really vary on destination. I would also recommend when booking a flight, to book on a different computer to the computer you have been researching flights on. As when you continually look at, for example flights to Greece – they increase the prices as they know you’re interested in that flight. Not sure if all websites do that but skyscanner definitely do!

    Thanks for the post :)

  2. Maggie Owen says:

    Fantastic post, thanks very much for sharing! I always wonder when is the best time to book holidays, as you said it can really vary by destination. I would also recommend when booking a flight, to book on a different computer to the computer you’ve been researching flights, for example to Greece. As the more time you spend on a particular website, researching a flight to the same destination – the website can tell you’re interested in going there and so hike up the prices. Not sure whether this is true of all companies but skyscanner definitely do it!

    Thanks again :)

  3. Maggie Owen says:

    Oops sorry didn’t realise that posted twice haha!

  4. I’m really surprised by this as I book flights to Spain every single year for the last 9 years and find the cheapest time is when they are just released which for example if using BA is virtually a year in advance. From then on they just go up and up and up. I’ve looked for this summer and am already far too late with all airlines.
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  5. Louise says:

    Great tips I love the sky scanner app on my phone am bit addicted to it lol! Xx

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