Last minute airfares cost twice as much

RESEARCH shows it pays to book air tickets in advance. A recent study by FCm Travel Solutions reveals travellers will pay 116% more for an airfare if they book a ticket one day out from travel rather than three weeks in advance.

FCm's airfare analysis showed the earlier tickets were purchased the more travellers could expect to save on their airfares.

Using a departure date of 5 July 2011, FCm’s study captured the cheapest available fares for flights between 6am and 8am. The study analysed the price of one-way fares throughout June and July 2011 for 12 key domestic routes.

The analysis compared average ticket prices across the 12 routes for bookings made one day in advance of the 5 July departure date, two to five days, six to 10 days, 11 to 20 days and 21 days in advance.

The results show that a domestic ticket bought 21 days in advance of the 5 July departure date cost an average of $105.

  • A ticket bought 11 – 20 days in advance of the 5 July departure date cost on average 17% more at $123;
  • A ticket bought 6 – 10 days in advance of the departure date cost on average 38% more at $145;
  • A ticket bought 2-5 days in advance of the departure date cost on average 43% more at $150 and
  • A ticket bought 0 – 1 day in advance cost 116% more at $227.

FCm Travel Solutions regional general manager Nick Queale said booking tickets as early as possible was an excellent way for leisure and business travellers, and companies to reduce the cost of air travel.                        

“Our airfare studies indicate there are significant price rises on last minute tickets or tickets bought a few days before travel with most domestic carriers, but travellers have the potential to save on their airfares by planning ahead and booking early,” Nick said.

“This study is useful for both the leisure and business traveller as well as companies that require staff to travel regularly for work, as it demonstrates that generally tickets across carriers are cheaper the earlier you purchase them.

“Buying tickets in advance is an important strategy for passengers to keep in mind particularly if you’re travelling in peak periods such as Christmas or school holidays when there is a higher demand for air travel.

“For companies looking to reduce their business travel costs we recommend implementing an ‘advance purchase’ policy into staff travel guidelines to ensure maximum savings across all employee travel.”

Nick said these studies were vitally important for companies that had large mobile workforces and wanted to get the best deal on their airfares.

“It’s crucial a business has access to experienced account managers that have the reporting technology and the airfare experience to know how to capture and benchmark this kind of data. Companies can use this information to improve the way they buy travel to increase savings over the long term.”

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