England’s Observer newspaper has reported findings of a study by 2 renowned economists- Makoto Watanabe and Marc Moller. They have actually developed a mathematical formulae to derive their findings as part of their research into airline pricing. Now the exciting part. According to their research, the optimum time to buy an airline ticket in advance is 8 weeks out. They have also discovered that prices rise in the afternoon which they believe is due to the airlines’ assumption that business travellers buy at work in the morning. From my 25+ years of travel industry experience, I can also add that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are also the best days to both buy airfares and to travel at the best price. So, buy as soon as you can and buy on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning. Got it? Airfare 101.
Airline fees have grown both in number and in dollar volume over the past number of years. They are literally worth millions, and in some cases, billions to major airlines. They can make an airline profitable or not. (A little known fact- Air Canada was the first major airline in North America to start charging fees back when they “unbundled” and reduced their number of fares to only 5 in the late 90’s. Ironically there are once again many different fares and sources for airfares). The rationale for fees is simple-user pay and pay only for what you want. Airlines state that fares would be that much higher if they didn’t charge fees. The airline fee list includes: check-in bags, extra bags, extra leg room, meals, pillows, frequent flier points, preferred check-in, airline lounges, advanced seat selection, change fees, travel assistance. Something might have been left off and the list is undoubtedly growing as I type! Anyway, fees are not going away and the time has come to move on. Get the services that you want and need to enhance your travel experience. Leave the others alone!