We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Timing, When to price and when to purchase airline tickets

Dallas, Texas
posts: 188
reviews: 3
Timing, When to price and when to purchase airline tickets

I'm wondering when to begin to get serious about my airline ticket purchase for next years' vacation. I will be going either June or July, and flying from Dallas, DFW.

I will probably go to Europe, but not necessarily, I really have no idea what I want to do yet.

My dates are flexible. I've begun searching for random fares for the month of June in 2015, and flights to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Athens are extremely high right now about one year in advance. The fares average around 1,600.

I will probably fly open-jaw. I'm not a seasoned traveler; I've only flown Delta and American, if that matters, so I don't have experience with other airlines, especially discount airlines. I will be traveling solo.

I've read a few books about the pricing and how the prices go up and down on demand. I need your advice for knowing when the prices I see are serious enough for me to begin getting an idea of budget- and also approximately when to make the purchase.

Thanks so much!

27 replies to this topic
Birmingham, United...
posts: 87
reviews: 6
1. Re: Timing, When to price and when to purchase airline tickets

Flights Ideally should be purchased when the prices are released as this will give you the cheapest seats available as the more demand there is, the more expensive they become.

June is the beginning of the summer season in Europe so flight prices are going to be more expensive during those periods.

If your not too restricted by dates, try checking other dates, ideally week days and not Public holidays.

TM18

Helsinki, Finland
posts: 508
2. Re: Timing, When to price and when to purchase airline tickets

http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ is a very effective way to search.

As for the cheapest prices. No-one really knows (otherwise everyone would buy then). It tends to be more on the expensive side when the tickets are released and after that the prices adjust to the demand. If it is a popular flight/destination/time, the prices go up and vice versa. Some say the prices are lowest 54 days before, but Europe & summer: perhaps not.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 7,801
reviews: 53
3. Re: Timing, When to price and when to purchase airline tickets

Flights Ideally should be purchased when the prices are released as this will give you the cheapest seats available as the more demand there is, the more expensive they become.

_______________

A rather simplistic view. Often times if you look right at the time fares are released then you'll see only fully flexible fares loaded. You're paying a premium as the airline's need to sell a given seat is obviously a lot less than your need to book it.

The answer to the OP's question is, there is no right time. You've just got to keep looking around and getting a feeler. There is no crystal ball.

Llanelli, United...
posts: 4,142
reviews: 200
4. Re: Timing, When to price and when to purchase airline tickets

Sign up to airline sites to receive alerts for sale periods. Otherwise, monitor the prices, buy when you see a price and route that is acceptable to you, and then never look back!

Beware of chasing the cheapest possible deal, as you will risk becoming a victim of the poor and unscrupulous scammers and third party sites that are out there.

Saint Louis...
posts: 9,954
reviews: 13
5. Re: Timing, When to price and when to purchase airline tickets

I've noticed that flight prices to Europe seem to spike around mid-June. If at all possible I'd suggest going in late may or early June to take advantage of better air fares and smaller crowds.

In addition to signing up for airline fare alerts you misght sign up on a site like Airfare Watchdog. I've been getting fare alerts from them and have seen some $900-$1,100 fares from St. Louis to Barcelona and Paris.

I like using Matrix for searching too. The only "discount" airline that goes to Europe is Iceland Air. They will get you there, but not in much comfort. You're lucky to be flying from Dallas as you have the option to take a non-stop flight.

London
posts: 1,315
reviews: 73
6. Re: Timing, When to price and when to purchase airline tickets

"Flights Ideally should be purchased when the prices are released"

Not true

"The only "discount" airline that goes to Europe is Iceland Air"

And Norwegian, but neither fly to DFW

Edited: 11:52 am, August 06, 2014
Waterloo, Belgium
posts: 1,815
reviews: 340
7. Re: Timing, When to price and when to purchase airline tickets

My 2 cents on the last overseas trip I did :

I checked several airport to Narita airport : from Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and some others.

best buy at ... weeks before was about 900 € from Frankfurt. From Paris 1200 €.

I tell my wife if ok, we lose a few days, then I want to book : flight from Frankfurt up to 1200 € - so I tell myself heck prices go up when less time to date of departure.

I check from Paris : down to 800 - I booked and stopped looking.

Salisbury, United...
posts: 2,567
reviews: 62
8. Re: Timing, When to price and when to purchase airline tickets

Icelandair is a good option as you can have a stopover in Iceland at no extra cost to your airfare. It's an amazing country. You'll have to research your nearest airport to pick up Icelandair. I think they fall halfway between legacy airlines and LCC Norwegian. Disadvantage is the narrow body aircraft and no direct flight.

It's a gamble when to buy tickets, you will have to make your own decision, buy but don't check back to see the price after you have bought.

Dallas, Texas
posts: 188
reviews: 3
9. Re: Timing, When to price and when to purchase airline tickets

According to Seatguru there are specific times in advance to purchase airline tickets which are better than other times (also according to the books that I've read). However, I find the advice while easily understandable, confusing to apply to my personal situations.

I thought some frequent travelers might offer personal experiences of airfare examples of when they purchased their tickets to the various destinations in Europe.

What is the most common airline used from the US? I traveled Delta through ATL to VCE, then FCO to JFK and then on to DFW.

....Btw, the last flight was a disaster and I am going to post about that, along with a question later, I want to avoid the same experience if possible...

So anyway, I flew in mid June and purchased the ticket 3 1/2 months in advance. I watched the fares and some were lower, but the times and all didn't match my preferences. When I purchased, the price was high -over 1,600, but this was for only one connection. Of course I never looked back- not until I got home...then the prices were lower, just a bit.

I felt I could have gotten the price about three or four hundred US dollars cheaper if I'd monitored more carefully.

I hope to be more savvy this go around. I've seen tickets lower but didn't pay so much attention.

Thanks for the guidance! I appreciate your expertise.

Saint Louis...
posts: 9,954
reviews: 13
10. Re: Timing, When to price and when to purchase airline tickets

There is no magic time to purchase tickets, as already explained above.

Prices are higher and planes are fuller than they used to be. What I would do in your situation, in addition to signing up for fare alerts, is to use a site like matrix to monitor the fares and then buy when you find a price that you're comfortable with.

Reply to: Timing, When to price and when to purchase airline tickets
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted