Buying plane tickets is famously tricky. There is, possibly, no other industry with prices that fluctuate as much as the airline industry. If you’re looking for cheap flights, you may find a great rate – but then two days later, the price could have easily jumped by hundreds of dollars.
So why are some flights so much cheaper than others? Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons.
- Off-Peak Travel Times
This is the biggest reason that some flights are so much cheaper than others. Airlines know that most people fly from Thursday-Sunday. Most folks choose to fly out on vacations and trips over the weekend, so these flights are usually fairly expensive.
In contrast, flights that take place in the middle of the work week – such as Tuesday or Wednesday – are much less expensive. This is because fewer people are travelling during these times. Demand is much lower, so prices go down to encourage travellers to fly during the week.
- Multiple (Inconvenient) Layovers
Direct flights are almost always more expensive than flights with layovers. And, as a rule, the more layovers your flight has, the cheaper it will be. Airlines do this on purpose – they know that some flyers are willing to accept the inconvenience of layovers for a cheaper ticket.
- Budget Airlines Vs. Standard Airlines
Tickets on budget airlines, such as Frontier, JetBlue, and Allegiant will almost always be cheaper than flights on “standard” airlines such as Delta and United.
This is because budget airlines use a wide variety of money-saving strategies. They usually carry more passengers on each plane, and they cut out additional extras like in-flight refreshments.
When you see a cheap budget flight, however, remember that there will usually be additional carry-on or checked baggage fees to factor into the total cost. Find out if budget airlines are right for you.
In some cases, cheap flights are due to subsidisation from private companies or governments. Las Vegas is a great example. You can get a flight to Vegas from almost any airport in the United States for less than $200 – or even less than $100 if you choose off-peak travel hours.
This is because private companies like casinos subsidise the cost of airline tickets. They know that, if you come to Vegas, you’ll likely end up spending quite a bit of money (or gambling it away). By subsidising tickets to make them cheaper and more appealing, these companies can benefit from increased tourism.
- Time of Ticket Purchase
If you purchase a ticket a month or two in advance of your trip, you’ll almost always get a better price than if you bought it a week in advance.
This is simply because of supply and demand. As planes become filled up with passengers, the price of a ticket goes up – because it’s more likely that a last-minute customer will be willing to pay the additional fees.
Take Your Time When Picking Your Flights – And Get A Cheaper Ticket!
Of course, these are not the only reasons that some flights are so much cheaper than others. But if you understand these 5 reasons, you can choose your flights more intelligently – and find better deals on your air travel!