Do you remember when you could book a last minute ticket for almost nothing? Last minute flights aren’t as cheap anymore — on the contrary, it’s way more expensive than if you book early. Why? What can we do to find the cheapest tickets?
There are several explanations as to why last minute flights aren’t as cheap anymore. One of the most significant reasons is digitalisation and the online availability. Not long ago, you booked your trips through a phone call, a visit to the travel agency, or looking through travel catalogues. Since internet became an everyday use for the everyday person, our booking habits have changed. It has become much easier to book a holiday online, and the booking sites can always offer the trip’s current status — that’s to say whether it’s still bookable or not. It’s also easier for airlines to adjust and optimise the prices. By measuring data traffic and the amount of online bookings, it becomes easier to calculate supply according to demand, and then adjust the prices, depending on day to day, and minute by minute. When it comes to pricing flights, it’s all about the attraction. And now, airlines all over the world can experiment with pricing by making sure they always have the highest prices a customer is willing to pay.
Although, through many aspects, the human behaviour is something that shouldn’t be underestimated. Travel sites can track your behaviour when searching for flights through cookies. If you visit the same flight over and over, they can raise the costs — assuming you’ll book the flight.
There’s generally a behaviour pattern in how we book our flights. If last minute flights are the cheapest, then it’s most likely we’ll book our trip then. However, this would be a nightmare scenario for airlines, since they’d lose their power in managing the prices. Instead of always experimenting with the prices and optimising them according to the demand — and what the customers are willing to pay — they would always have to wait until, and what, the travellers are willing to pay. This means, to get all tickets sold, they’d have to lower the costs and possibly lose money. Thus, airlines could benefit from raising the prices of the last minute flights, to easier control travelers’ behaviour of when a trip should be booked, as well as to what price.
So — you have to realise that last minute tickets don’t equal cheap tickets anymore. You either have to plan ahead, or fly out off-peak. Read more about how to book cheaper flights here.