Today I want to talk a little bit about Airlines and their clever pricing structure. I recently got married and we decided to do this in Thailand. We both loved the idea of a beach wedding and wanted almost guaranteed good weather. January in Thailand gave us just that!! I could write for a whole post about what an amazing day we had with our family and friends – paired with an elephant, fireworks, lanterns a band and others. I may even write a future post about the costs of getting married abroad.
Anyway, We decided that we would have a holiday for our wedding then wait a while and save up for our honeymoon this summer, on which we have decided Roatan (Honduras) as a destination. Roatan is one of the bay islands, a few hours from Houston – unfortunately this means that it is quite difficult to get to and of course requires an expensive flight ticket.
Scottish people have a reputation of being ‘tight’, but I think frugal is a better description. At least in my case. My philosophy in life is to splash out on the things that matter to you, while cutting back on what doesn’t – more about that later. I am forever driving my wife mad as I check prices online we we shop to ensure that we are not about to be overcharged for items. (on several occasions I have found shoes and clothing almost half the price online than in the shops).
When it comes to buying airline tickets, I am no different. I have the following technique:
Check a flight comparison website to establish a base price (this will give a ballpark figure of what you should be expecting to pay)
Visit a few of the cheapest airlines website directly to check the same route (sometimes comparison sites will add on a lot of commission)
Phone the airline directly to find out if they have any specials for that day (occasionally they have specials that are not listed online)
Now this where a lot of people go wrong. It is a natural assumption to think that at this stage you have a bargain and buy buy buy! Not necessarily! The next stage in the process is to monitor the prices for a few weeks. Airlines have a sort of cyclic pattern to their pricing structure. It has been reported in fact, that most airlines have both a weekly and monthly cycle to their pricing structure. From my experience, you can get the best deal on a Mon/Tues, mid to late month; i.e. not approaching the weekend (when people are more likely to plan trips) and not just after payday. Makes perfect sense to raise the prices at these times from an airlines point of view.
Obviously you have to get the balance right in buying your ticket far enough in advance (there are still only a limited number of ‘cheap seats’) and buying it when the cheap seats are at their cheapest!
Right now I am a little frustrated: I have been monitoring tickets from London to Roatan for almost a month and had established what I believe to be the cheapest price (£737 or ~ $1180). We were awaiting confirmation of dates from my wife’s work before booking, only to receive it yesterday – and the tickets have gone up!! A LOT!! (£50/$80 each)!!
Hopefully my theory of tickets dropping down in price at the start of the week holds up!
Moral of the story – plan well in advance!