Blog | When is the best time to book the cheapest low-cost flights

When is the cheapest ticket?

We all want to travel and spend as little as possible on airline tickets. Is there a secret formula, certain days and times when flights are cheaper?

ZborDirect has analyzed the flights operated by low cost carriers and classic airlines to the most popular destinations to see when it is the best time to buy cheap air tickets.

What is a cheap airline ticket?

In general, a price of up to 100 euros for a journey by plane of more than 2500 km distance is OK. And more OK is a price of 39 euros - but in this case you have to be on the watch and book faster and earlier.

And if you like to, or you have to book 1 month, or less before the flight, and you have 200 euros round-trip tickets in front of you (for example from Bucharest to Lisbon) - don't waste time - book immediately. Tomorrow will definitely be more expensive and you are likely to find cheaper tickets only by bus (but we are not sure of this). But you don't want to travel by bus to Lisbon, do you?

So the above question should be formulated correctly so: "When is a cheap airline ticket?". The closer the day of the flight - the more expensive the tickets

Price categories for low-cost airline tickets

First of all, let's clarify one important thing about low-cost tickets. You've probably heard that low-cost carriers don't have tariff classes like regular companies and only have one class - economic. It's not quite like that.

All seats in the plane of a low-cost company, indeed, have the same class of service, regardless of whether the seat is in front or in the back of the airplane, but the price categories are different.

The seats are divided into 4-5 tariff categories - extra-low tariff (9 - 19 euro), low tariff (20 - 59 euro), average tariff (60 - 99 euro), standard tariff (100 - 139 euro) and high tariff (140 - 500 euro).

Yes, the price for low cost ticket can reach 500 euros. For example, at the publishing of prices for the direct flight Bucharest - Tenerife all tariffs are available (except extra-low). The booking activity begins immediately (and it is very dynamic for this destination), and as the low priced seats are being booked the higher categories become available.

Thus, if you are not among the first bookers, you will pay a lot more, and if you book with 1 month or less before the flight - only high category places will be available, which for the given destination are up to 500 euros / direction.

Dynamic - this is the main feature of the ticket price. The price can change every 10 minutes, and in most cases the trend is ascending.

ZD_TEXT_ROUND_TRIP_OFFERS from Washington

Bangkok
Washington ⇆ Bangkok
06.11.20 - 15.11.20 (9 days)
Dubai
Washington ⇆ Dubai
29.11.20 - 26.01.21 (57 days)
Las Vegas
Washington ⇆ Las Vegas
29.08.20 - 05.09.20 (7 days)

On which days flights are the cheapest

Here we will talk about the day of flight. The day you look for tickets and make the reservation has nothing to do with the ticket price. Prices are not different if you book on Monday morning or Saturday night. It only counts the day of the flight.

At the publishing of flight tariffs in the reservation systems the ticket prices are the same for all days. The difference begins as the booking process starts, which is an extremely dynamic process. For this reason, the users of the booking engines think that prices "are being increased". In reality, gradually the seats are being sold by categories.

Low fare tickets for the most sought-after days are sold faster and thus the "price increases" these days.

To see which are the days with high demand we have analyzed the cheapest prices for the most popular route on zbordirect.com - Bucharest - London. In the chart below you can see the average prices every day of the week.

Week days with cheapest flight tickets

So we can see that Tuesday is the day with least demand and the prices are the lowest.

Saturday is the most preferred day by Travelers, cheap tickets are sold faster and the average fare is higher. The beginning of the weekend is the favourite time of the week and low-priced tickets sell out much faster than on other days.

This analysis is valid for the route Bucharest - London. Each route has its own particularities and it is quite complicated to draw out a general analysis. But the basic rule is that mid-week days are less sought-after and the prices are lower, on the other hand weekend days are more expensive.

Which month is the cheapest when booking flights

It depends on when you book your seats, that is how many days are left before the day of the flight. The closer the date - the more expensive. The most demanded periods are the official holidays and vacation seasons.

We have analyzed all bookings performed on zbordirect.com and in the chart below you can see the months of the year and the average price of a ticket for one passenger.

Months with cheapest flight tickets

We can see that November is the cheapest month. If you are flexible on your trip dates and want a very cheap city break - you can book your plane tickets 2-3 times cheaper than in the most expensive month.

On the other hand August is the the most expensive. It is the period of summer holidays and cheap air tickets are sold long before the flight, for some destinations - as soon as they released. If you are planning a trip during this period and you want to fly cheap - we recommend that you book your tickets as soon as you have planned the trip.

How far in advance should you book cheapest tickets

The sooner - the cheaper. This is the golden rule for booking the cheapest low cost airline tickets.

2 months before the flight is the perfect time to make your bookings. But if you want to travel during the "high season" periods - Christmas, New Year, Easter, national holidays, summer holidays - there is no fixed period we can affirm with certainty. For some destinations the cheap tickets for high season are sold 4-5 months before the flight, for others - as soon as the seats are released.

If you want to have a cheap air travel the most demanded periods - we recommend that you book your tickets as soon as you plan your trip. Otherwise you risk to get the most expensive tickets, or run out of seats.

We have analyzed the bookings made by ZborDirect customers and below you can see the chart of the relationship between the period before the flight when the booking was made and the ticket price.

Days before flight with cheapest tickets

These data refers to the flights operated by ZborDirect partners - Wizz Air, Ryanair, Laudamotion, Blue Air, Norwegian Air and AirBaltic. They represent a general average and may differ depending on the itinerary and the date when the booking is made.

Bottom line - prices for low cost airline tickets never come down, the price increases as the day of the flight gets closer.

Yes, from time to time you get the chance to book discounted/promotional tickets, but these campaigns cannot be accurately forecast and we do not recommend to wait for a promotion if you have already planned a trip.

If you have already planned a trip and you want to fly cheap, book your tickets today, tomorrow it will be more expensive.

When discounts and promotions are launched by low-cost carriers

Briefly - there is no specific rule for these promotions that you could rely on. Airlines launch discount campaigns sporadically, when they want to, or rather - when they urgently need increased cash flow.

Most promotions are launched by Ryanair and Blue Air (about 1 time a month). Wizz Air has discounts about once every 3 months, and we have noticed a decrease in the frequency of Wizz campaigns - a sign that sales are going well even without discouns. airBaltic and Norwegian Air have no discounts at all, or very rarely - on the occasion of important events.

Let's be honest - considering the prices for low-cost airline tickets, it is quite complicated to reduce them further.

Christmas, New Year, Easter and August

These are the periods most sought-after by Travelers. Ticket prices for these periods also start from 59-99 euros per round trip, but all these seats (absolutely all) are sold 6-12 months before the flight date, for some routes - as soon as they the seats are released.

Christmas and New Year is a special topic that we will refer to in a separate article. In brief - with 2 months until December 20 - January 10 ticket prices for some destinations can reach 400 euros - in one direction. No, they didn't get so expensive. Simply only 3-5 high tariff category seats are left out of the total 190 seats in the aircraft. And the airline will not lower the prices even if these seats are not sold. But, the most interesting thing is that these seats will be all booked either by business passengers or by travelers who do not want to go home by bus on Christmas an New Year.

If you want to catch low-fare tickets (59-99 euro for a round-trip) for Christmas or August - the only solution is to book as soon as the season schedule is launched (about 12 months before the flight). To keep up to date with these dates - we recommend that you subscribe to our newsletter, or follow us on social networks.

If 2 months or less are left before the flight date - and you have not yet booked your flights - be aware, you can run out of seats. Unfortunately, this is the situation with holiday and high summer season flights and nothing can be done about it.

How to find the cheapest flight on zbordirect.com

ZborDirect engine searches non-stop for the cheapest fares for the most demanded periods and destinations and displays them here: Selected airline ticket deals. Here you can see all the offers already generated by the automated searches of the ZborDirect engine and the users and operators of the site zbordirect.com.

If you do not see here any offer you must keep in mind that some offers, especially the low-cost connections, are generated at the time of a search and the destination and dates you have selected have not been probably searched for recently. In this case you have to do a new search on www.zbordirect.com using the flight search form.

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