Normally, the Middle Seat on an airplane sucks… but the Middle Seat column on the WSJ is pretty good and last week they shared some money saving tips about buying airline tickets. Many of these tips are well known, having been passed from frugal flyer to frugal flyer, but I still enjoy reading them because we could all use a quick refresher.
If the WSJ doesn’t let you read the article without registering or paying, do a Google search for “Whatever You Do, Don’t Buy an Airline Ticket On” and click on the online.wsj.com link to read the full article for free.
The best time to buy a ticket is Tuesday because that’s the day most sales are in effect, because many sales are launched Monday night. By Thursday or Friday, the sales have expired (usually they’re 24 and 48 hour sales). This also means tickets are most expensive when purchased on the weekends with the most fare changes occurring on Monday (or Thursday).
When airlines want to push through a fare increase, marking up their basic prices across the board usually by $5 or $10, they often do that on Thursday night, then watch to see if competitors match and if the higher rates stick over the weekend. If competitors balk, prices can be rolled back by Monday morning.
Good refresher with some interesting empirical evidence.