Sundays are the new Tuesdays, while travel bookings that include a Saturday night will yield the best flight deals.
Those are some of the major findings out of Expedia's latest "New Heights for Air Travel" report which looks back at air travel trends over the last year.
Analysts described 2016 as another banner year for air travel, with ticket prices continuing a three-year decline average ticket prices are now at their lowest point since 2013, and are expected to continue falling.
After examining the reams of data provided by the Airline Reporting Corp. along with data from other industry sources, analysts were able to identify a few patterns that are meant to serve as a guide for travellers looking for the best deal – patterns that shatter a few longstanding air travel urban myths, and corroborate others.
For example, while Tuesdays have been widely accepted as the best day to book flight travel, the latest data from the Expedia report shows that generally speaking, weekends offer the lowest average price tickets, due mostly to business travellers who usually make their big ticket purchases at the end of the work week.
That's especially true for travellers in Europe, who shaved an average of 30% off their airfare to destinations within the continent when booking on a Sunday compared to other days of the week.
Travellers also saved 22% off their flight from Europe to US when booking on a Sunday, and 13% when booking flights to Asia Pacific.
Similar trends were observed in the US booking for domestic travel on a Sunday saved flyers an average of 11% compared to the rest of the week. For travel to Europe, that spiked 16%, and 10% for travel to Asia Pacific from the US.
The latest findings corroborate Expedia predictions made earlier this year.
When it comes to booking in advance, the magic number is 21: Booking a minimum of 21 days in advance yielded the lowest average ticket prices, with some travellers saving as much as 30% off their ticket price compared to bookings made closer to their departure date.
For US to Europe itineraries, that translates to hundreds of dollars in savings.
And finally, after crunching the numbers, analysts were able to confirm what, for years, had been just an urban legend. The fact that including a Saturday night stay in a holiday itinerary unlocks the lowest price.
In fact, booking a trip that included a Saturday night dropped ticket prices by 19% for domestic travel in the US, and up to a whopping 74% for bookings in Central Europe.
The regions that buck this trend China and North Asia, where Saturday night stays are more expensive.
Meanwhile, looking forward, analysts predict that cheaper ticket prices will continue in 2017, thanks to a spike in capacity, full planes, and increased competition in the aviation industry.
But they also warn that the fallout from Brexit, fuel prices and fluctuating currencies still have the potential to create turbulence in the next year. – AFP Relaxnews