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When is a good time to buy my plane ticket?

Posted by molocono on 2/10/2010 at 08:10

I'm trying to head out to Thailand (from California) at the end of January for 6 weeks. When is a good time to buy my plane ticket? I try to fly American cuz that's were I have all my miles. The fares are not that bad now, but I'm hoping they could drop maybe $200.

#1 molocono has been a member since 6/9/2010. Posts: 24

Posted by Indoluso on 3/10/2010 at 01:13

If you don't mind spending more 100/200/300$ because prices didn't go down but up, don't buy your ticket now. Otherwise you should have bought them 3/5 months ago. Good luck!

#2 Indoluso has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 133

Posted by exacto on 3/10/2010 at 01:36

i bought my tickets for my last trip nearly 10 months in advance because the airlines were having a fare war at the time. i noticed that the fares got more expensive as the time approached, but that with only a few weeks to go a few of the airlines had some last-minute specials that were nearly as good as what i'd paid all those months before.

i wouldn't count on those last-minute specials however. it seems that lately most airlines have cut capacity which allows them to charge more for the fewer seats on offer.

shopping for a good fare on just the one airline really limits your options. i can definitely appreciate trying to capture those frequent flyer miles, particularly on such a long trip. it may be worth any extra money you wind up paying to fly on AA, but it may not.

have you checked to see if there are any of AA's partner airlines also flying that route? that might be a good way to find the lowest available fare while still earning some miles for the trip. just a thought.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,679
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Posted by scythemk on 3/10/2010 at 01:42

I bought my international airfare to Thailand 3 months before my planned departure date, but had been tracking fares 2 months before that and am still tracking it now, with a month left. On certain airlines (Cathay Pacific) the fare has remained about the same ($10 cheaper now than 4 months ago), while others, like the one I booked (China Airlines) have gone up by $100-200. It's absolutely impossible to predict how these fare trends will fluctuate with any certainty. I remember reading somewhere that typically 3 months or more out, the price is set in the middle tier of the ticket price range as a default. Less than 3 months out, the airlines' reservation system begins actively managing the fare based on load factor, demonstrated demand online, etc. This could be good or bad. If the airplane has a LOT of empty seats left, the system will lower the price. If the seats start selling rapidly, the price will rise. The price is adjusted 2-3 times a day if not more, every day of the week from what I understand. In conclusion, I would agree with the previous posters and say that unless you fancy yourself a big risktaker, I would book as soon as you know your travel dates with some certainty. You might gain SOME savings if you wait to book, but more than likely you may end up paying $100-300 more per ticket and having less airline/flight time options to choose from. Good luck!

#4 scythemk has been a member since 3/9/2010. Posts: 23

Posted by molocono on 3/10/2010 at 01:49

I really would try to fly American because of the miles. I'm looking at around $1,200 RT from San Diego to BKK. This would give me full miles. I can go a little cheaper, maybe $100 less and get like 50% of the miles.
It seems that there a slight possibility that I will have to fly out of the New York area. That seems to be a little more expensive, around $1,300.

#5 molocono has been a member since 6/9/2010. Posts: 24

Posted by oscarcat on 3/10/2010 at 05:07

I bought my ticket today. I have little to add to this debate I'm just really excited! The flight is 29.10 to BKK rtn costing me 475 pounds, having gone down 25 pounds in the last 2 wks. Can't wait!

#6 oscarcat has been a member since 11/11/2008. Location: Cambodia. Posts: 66

Posted by JamieBell on 28/3/2012 at 14:49


Are you flying from the UK? May I ask where you purchased your ticket for that price???? Is that a return btw? I was £720 from Glasgow to BKK (return). Only one stop though and 14hours travel time.

#7 JamieBell has been a member since 3/3/2012. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 26
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Posted by NYTim on 29/3/2012 at 09:21

I am flying to Bangkok at Christmas. I paid $895 round trip on China Eastern Airlines in late January, 11 months before my departure. The same fare is now $1200 -- go figure?

#8 NYTim has been a member since 11/9/2009. Posts: 106

Posted by sayadian on 29/3/2012 at 23:24

Try SKYSCANNER a great site you can compare whole months availabilities.

#9 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
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Posted by JamieBell on 30/3/2012 at 07:36

yeah skyscanner! that was the cheapest flight search site I found online. and i tried alot!

#10 JamieBell has been a member since 3/3/2012. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 26
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