So a couple of weeks ago I booked flights from NYC to L.A. and back to have myself, my wife and our new baby boy get out to California to visit my family over the Christmas holiday. I knew the longer I waited to book the flights, the more expensive they would be (especially for such a popular travel time). I didn't want to get screwed so I was hoping to find the "sweet spot" for booking. I looked around on the internet to see if there was a day of the week, a time of day or any other "insider info" about when to find the cheapest flight. I even questioned a Jet Blue flight attendant while we both stood in line at the Post Office. All of these efforts turned up assumptions and no real concrete results.
It turned out there was not a secret combination of search sites or dropping someone's name when calling the airline directly that would work. There is in fact only one true way to get the lowest possible booking price. BOOK FAR IN ADVANCE. Between 90 days and 150 days to be more precise. BOOK NOW! As of this post, NOW is the best time to grab deals on flights for the 2015 holiday season.
****Here is a link for Booking.com. I used CheapOair and there is a link for them below****
Airlines make most of their profits off of travel booked at the last minute when costs skyrocket because demand is high and supply gets lower by the second. We have all had the experience of not having a spare moment in our daily lives and so we don't get to booking that flight until a few weeks out at best - and the night before at worst.
With my plan set, I used CheapOair to book my flights, and managed to get the airline, times, and seats I wanted. While the cost per ticket still ended up being around $500 I could have easily spent $700 if I had bought flights in October or November.
If you can plan just your holiday travel, or some reoccurring trip, months out you will get the best price and not have the pressure of limited time and be forced to take any plane flying that direction at whatever God-awful time they allow their under-caffeinated, and overworked flight crew to operate 20 tons of aircraft.
So now if you can make your plans and get your flights booked, you can take your savings and splurge for one of the upgrades, like a hotel package or a rental car. Or you can use the money for a nice meal out on vacation or some extra Santa swag. The point is that dough is yours because you took advantage of foresight and planned ahead. Now if I can just plan to handle the laundry I might be closer to winning this "adulting" game.