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I am planning a trip down from Atlanta in July.  It looks to me like it's considerably less expensive to buy tickets within 2 weeks of your departure.  Right now, there are still plenty of seats for flights in March.  Is this generally true, or is it really unpredictable?  Can I safely wait until June to buy tickets?  Thanks.

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People I know who fly a lot say to buy about 90 days out. No risk as most big travel sites, Expedia or Travelocity, have provisions that if the exact fare you bought goes down after you buy, then they refund money to you.

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I too was told to start checking at about 90 days out. Any time I have waited until the last minute, I have had to pay more. I fly to and from Seattle and/or Vancouver at least three times per year and base my experience on that.

I have also seen that it often flights are cheaper on say Tuesday than Monday. But that is just my experience..

 

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They are all the same, as are most of the so-called "good travel sites". You start 2 months or so in advance, get disgusted, and put it off for a couple of weeks. Then you try again, are shocked at how much the prices have risen, and start changing your dates. Eventually you discover that 3 or 4 weeks out is the best you are going to do, except for the very last minutes, which is just too nerve-wracking. And you will see that if you go back to the same flight you looked at 5 minutes earlier, the price has already gone up.

Point being, there is no "good" time, no matter what anyone or any site says, other than weekends... which are usually the worst in terms of price.

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Ditto what CG said....  me thinks that what used to be the case (about when to book) has gone out the window (except that, for the most part, the best fares can be found on Tue-Wed-Thur and the worst generally on Mondays and Fridays due to business class flyers leaving or coming back home).

Airlines no longer just rely on 14-days out, 21-days out and future.... their computers are looking at their bookings vs history vs dates vs competition vs holidays vs 'who knows what else' to manipulate their fares and this is done dynamically. That's why they can change in 5-minutes.... some factor or set of factors told the computer to raise the fare and it is bingo done.

I use kayak.com to look for flights. That software will sometimes ask me if I want to have them 'watch for good fares on my route'. I've never tried it but that might be something the OP might want to try. Just be cause the software tells you there is a 'good' fare, one doesn't have to act on that info so what's to loose.

 

 

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3 hours ago, ComputerGuy said:

They are all the same, as are most of the so-called "good travel sites". You start 2 months or so in advance, get disgusted, and put it off for a couple of weeks. Then you try again, are shocked at how much the prices have risen, and start changing your dates. Eventually you discover that 3 or 4 weeks out is the best you are going to do, except for the very last minutes, which is just too nerve-wracking. And you will see that if you go back to the same flight you looked at 5 minutes earlier, the price has already gone up.

Point being, there is no "good" time, no matter what anyone or any site says, other than weekends... which are usually the worst in terms of price.

 

My friend and I tried the same airline at the same time with the same flight. He was on the phone with me. We both had different prices. He cleared his cache and the sites cooky after reviewing it then went back and saw the same price. I did not and my price was even higher. Amazon does that kind of stuff also.

 

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Will try clearing cookies or going anonymous. I have several alert services. The prices have always been the same, which has really surprised me since Chicago Atlanta is up and down.  I've played with various dates, and consistently I find price goes down for flights within 2 weeks and thereafter is stable. Maybe because there's only 1 direct flight from Atlanta.  And as someone said, it's too nerve wracking to wait until the last two weeks if you have other arrangements to make.  I suppose at some point I will just decide to spend the extra for peace of mind. Thanks all.

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1 hour ago, Ready Or Not said:

Interesting but for those of us non computer savvy, what does clearing the cookies mean and how does one do that?

Not something easily explained. Cookies are placed on your computer by every website to assist your viewing, either by remembering your name, or the images on the page, or the number of visits. These are generally benign, but here the reference is that the travel sites lay down a cookie that remembers the flights you looked up and their prices. When you go back to those pages, an program sees that info in the cookie and recalculates a new price. I know nothing about these calculations, but I can guess that they mix every hit in a pool, and even the slightest indication that there is interest in that flight at that time means they can now charge more based on "what the market will bear".

To get rid of your individual website cookies, you'll have to do some Googling, based on the browser you use.

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Problem with booking through Expedia or Travelocity type sites is that if for some unforeseen reason you need to change your ticket, it costs more than if you booked directly through the airline webpage. And I have never found those travel sites to be any cheaper, unless you want a flight that stops in 3 different places with an o'nite somewhere. Ticket looks cheap until you add on the taxes and fees  (most airline sites already have that factored into the price they post) and find out what would normally be a 5 hour flight will take you 30.

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On 3/2/2017 at 8:43 AM, elisabeth said:

Will try clearing cookies or going anonymous. I have several alert services. The prices have always been the same, which has really surprised me since Chicago Atlanta is up and down.  I've played with various dates, and consistently I find price goes down for flights within 2 weeks and thereafter is stable. Maybe because there's only 1 direct flight from Atlanta.  And as someone said, it's too nerve wracking to wait until the last two weeks if you have other arrangements to make.  I suppose at some point I will just decide to spend the extra for peace of mind. Thanks all.

Try looking at the excellent Mexican airline Interjet-- www.interjet.com.mx  That airline flies from Chicago O'Hare to GDL.  Round trip right now is about $600 USD per adult.

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