It is a common misconception that you would get cheaper ticket 100 days out. However, generally, the rule is that Airline is assured of the passenger on the future dated flight and they incentive you for providing them liquidity.
There are other reasons too:
- When you are 100 days out, there are generally negligible amount of passenger booked on that flight and hence Airline provides you cheapest rate on the particular aircraft which they can’t even promise that would fly as listed.
- The airline can’t determine the best value of the seat they can sell for unless they get more data on it unless it is one of the major routes. So passenger in the same section of seat pays different fares. If you book 10 seats together, you will see different fare vs booking them in a bunch of 3.Now it’s a myth that you get cheapest tickets 100 days out.
1. There might be a sale where airline decides to cut down cost from their end as they might need more liquidity and hence enticing customer to provide them with sales.
2. Airline may have barely sold half the plane and would just drop the fares to get whatever they can get for particular flight
3. There is regional bias too as some places they know that their customer would book tickets on weekends and hence they make weekday tickets cheaper. Most commonly we have cheapest fares on Tuesday for booking.
4. Depending on a region – your destination maybe a holiday destination like Las Vegas, Tampa, Ibiza or something which is usually full on weekends but empty on Tuesday to Wednesday, then airline publish higher fare for weekends even 100 days out.
What about Business or First class seat? When should we buy them?
All above is relevant for only Economy class tickets. The logic with Business class and First class is very different. Best prices for the First class are usually within 3 days of the flight. Business class is subject to various factors.
The airlines maintain illusionary aspect with premium seats and make people pay a premium when you are buying way in advance. They want a customer to think that it would cost them a dear dime to get those seats and make it look prestigious. Unless there is credit card related or airline doing premium seat sale, the best time to snag the seat is last 72 hours of the flight. When the airline comes to know that they haven’t sold out a business class or first class, they would drop the ball. I have seen crazy offers during the end and especially during holiday seasons where everyone is chasing economy but nobody is even looking at business class tickets.
In fact lot of airlines, they send their high tier customer upgrade offer which is a quarter of the price of the ticket. Normally, when I fly Jet Airways, I usually always get Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 seat around Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000 5 days before the intended flight. They always try to upsell me.