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How Far In Advance Do You Buy Your Tickets?  
User currently offlineYflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 1
Posted (8 years 1 week 2 days ago) and read 7124 times:

I bought my ticket for my flight home for Christmas back in August (Well, it's not exactly home as my parents moved to Minnesota this year, but I digress...). Typically I will buy tickets for personal travel that isn't during the busy travel season about a month in advance, give or take a week or so.

I'm curious how far in advance people here buy their plane tickets, be it for holidays or for other travel. When do you consider the best time to book travel?

32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineYfbflyer From Canada, joined Sep 2006, 303 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7115 times:

For my next set of flights Dec & Jan
The first carrier I picked up in July on a 30% off seat sale
The second carrier purchased from in Sept after the price started rising on my route.

User currently offlineVhqpa From Australia, joined Jul 2005, 1571 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7113 times:

Yesterday I purchased tickets 243 Days or 8 months in advance which is a record for me. I usually buy my tkts 2-3 months in advance.


"There you go ladies and gentleman we're through Mach 1 the speed of sound no bumps no bangs... CONCORDE"
User currently offlineBok269 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 2104 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7111 times:

When my plans are final, I'll buy the tickets (unless it is so far out that it woud be more expensive to do so, although that has never happened). Most recently, I purchased a ticket on B6 three weeks before departure. Back in September I bought tickets for December, and last month for February.

"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
User currently offlineCXfirst From Norway, joined Jan 2007, 3299 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 7098 times:

We usually buy our June/July holiday tickets in October-December. We like having things done and ready. For domestic travel, such as PER-MEL-PER will be ordered around 2weeks - 3 months in advance.


From Norway, live in Australia
User currently offlineAirTranTUS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 7096 times:

For holiday travel, the earlier the better. Last year we bought tickets at Thanksgiving for travel at Christmas; don't want to make that mistake again. For leisure travel, I usually watch prices for awhile when I know the dates I want to travel. If I notice a trend of increasing prices, I will get them because there is no guarantee of them going down.

User currently offlineERJ135 From Australia, joined Nov 2000, 699 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 7089 times:

Back in the early 80's I made my first trip overseas alone and I booked my round the world ticket one year in advance. I then paid the ticket 6 weeks later which was 44 weeks in advance of travel. There was no internet then or online booking so it was all handled by a travel agent.

I remember when the DC-3 was new!
User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2586 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 7083 times:

I attend annual conventions where the schedules for the next convention is announced at least a year in advance. I will make hotel arrangements as soon as the package information is released. If traveling by commercial airline, I will purchase transportation as soon as the reservation system will permit.

This year's annual convention for the Association of Railway Museums was held in Pittsburgh, PA in October. I purchased round trip transportation on NW by January and got round trip transportation from PHX to PIT for just under $200 USD including all taxes.

"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently offlineAlexPorter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 7080 times:

Usually about three months, but can be more if I see a great deal or less if I haven't finalized my plans yet.

User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 68
Reply 9, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7075 times:

Private - usually between 14 days and 4-5 months in advance.
Business - usually between 12 hours and 2 weeks in advance.

Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 12042 posts, RR: 59
Reply 10, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 7061 times:

Generally I book mine as far in advance as possible, as soon as I know I can go somewhere, then I will book them because it has always worked out cheaper this way. The longest in advance was about 15 months for a school trip booked through a travel agent and the shortest was just a couple of hours before wheels up.

Dan Smile

...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineNema From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2006, 787 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 7058 times:

Last May I booked our seats for our regular Christmas trip from Birmingham to Tenerife mainly because the flight will eventually be full. Since then of course loads of offers have appeared and still appear with huge discounts from what weve paid, but i cant risk not getting there by leaving it late.

There isnt really a dark side to the moon, as a matter of fact its all dark!
User currently offlineEgmcman From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 898 posts, RR: 7
Reply 12, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 7058 times:

I booked my tickets to visit my parents over Christmas in September. Also I booked my flight in the end February when U2 had a sale in begining of this month.

User currently offlineLASOctoberB6 From Japan, joined Nov 2006, 2380 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 7057 times:

Quoting Vhqpa (Reply 2):
I usually buy my tkts 2-3 months in advance.

Seeing how I'm the all-around flight guy in the family, I make the plans. I just hafta get the Mom's credit card in time..

User currently offlineMauiman31 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 453 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 7050 times:
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Business - at least 14 day advance to save $$. Job now I rarely have to do a last minute trip. Previous job - lots of 24-48 hour or same day bookings.
Leisure - often months in advance since we usually fly F or Biz on vacation. I want to be able to get the seats, and itinerary we want.

User currently offlineHelvknight From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 7043 times:

On business between 2 weeks and 1 day (when a customer had an emergency in the US)

For leisure between 2 and 3 months apart from earlier this year when I had to rush back to the UK when my father was admitted to hospital - that was about 1 days notice.

User currently offlineAlexPorter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 7042 times:

Quoting LASOctoberB6 (Reply 13):
Seeing how I'm the all-around flight guy in the family, I make the plans. I just hafta get the Mom's credit card in time..

Yeah, me too. I actually have my mom's CC number written down in a secret place in the house and whenever it comes time to book a flight, I just give her a call and the exchange is just something like this: "I found Thanksgiving flights, can I book them?" "Sure, that's fine. E-mail me your itinerary when you get it." And then I book it.

This is in contrast with my roommates who have varying levels of control over their itinerary - one roommate tells his parents preferred dates and times and they book it for him. Another roommate's mom just waits for the "Ding!" fare to Nashville and books flights and then tells him about it. This almost caused a big issue this year for Thanksgiving when his mom booked him a flight to Nashville on Tuesday while he had a mandatory class on Wednesday (Thanks, stupid ASU academic calendar with 35% of students from out-of-state but classes the day before Thanksgiving!!), so he had to talk to the professor to get excused from it. I personally can't imagine having no control over the flights I book.

User currently offlineBoeing74741R From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2007, 1212 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (8 years 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 7009 times:

We only book tickets once our plans are final, which can be anything from 18 months to 18 days! We do know that booking early will get us the best deal, but not all airlines take bookings as early as others (which prevents a fair comparison of price) and it also depends on what our plans are.

What we generally do is, if we have a choice of carrier on the route, we get quotes from all airlines on that route (say MAN or LPL or BLK-AGP) and go for the airline which is offering the best price and also at a time which is convenient.

It can be a headache at times but that's the way the cookie crumbles.

User currently offlineRAFVC10 From Spain, joined Sep 2005, 1980 posts, RR: 6
Reply 18, posted (8 years 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 7002 times:
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Depend if my flight is for holidays (my wife uses to buy it with two or three months of anticipation to get cheap fares in both tourist and Business class).

If it's for job, I use to plan my agenda every week but it always is not possible due to unplanned trips to elsewhere in the world where my company needs of my services.



El dia que los gilipollas vuelen, no podremos ver la luz del sol!
User currently offlineDesertAir From Mexico, joined Jan 2006, 1535 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 6983 times:

I am tending to purchase tickets earlier than I had in the past. For example, I have been able to use Rapid Rewards for both Thanksgiving and Christmas travel. I usually book as soon as WN opens their schedules. I just recently purchased travel for this coming July on Mexicana from LAX-GDL. I noticed that with the increase of jet fuel, the price was rising, so I thought it best to purchase early. I also just purchased travel on WN for February, March and May travel to take advantage of their Internet special fares and to use a Rapid Rewards for Friday and Saturday of Easter weekend for travel.

User currently offlineSeattleFlyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (8 years 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 6972 times:

As soon as I know where I'm going and when I need/want to be there. Especially if I'm looking for upgrade opportunities. This, of course, is assuming miles and dollars ( or available credit card balance) are available at the same time.

This can be anywhere from a few weeks to almost 1 year in advance. I'm willing to sacrifice a few dollars to make sure I get the schedule and class of service I want.

User currently offlineAnalog From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 1900 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (8 years 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 6959 times:

This year the shortest times were 4 hours (FF award to South America) and about 15 hours (paid transpacific r/t) before scheduled departure.

The longest was 2 months (leisure trip to the UK).

Normal is between one and two weeks (the 7 day advance purchase cutoff is usually the most painful).

User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (8 years 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6955 times:

Usually around 3-4 months out, as typically, that's when I'm finalizing the main plans for a trip (My flight is usually the last thing I book.). For the trip I took over Thanksgiving, I booked my tickets back in early August (I wish I would have booked them back in July as they were about $150 cheaper.). For the trip before that one (back in March), I booked it in mid-December. For my next trip, which is in April, I'm planning on booking it sometime around the first of the year. But if I see a good deal on a flight, I may book it earlier.

User currently offlineExFATboy From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2974 posts, RR: 9
Reply 23, posted (8 years 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 6936 times:

Usually as soon as I have my plans finalized, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

For more routine hops to the family in Florida, 3-4 weeks in advance.

User currently offlineTennis69 From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 410 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (8 years 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 6925 times:
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At least 50-60 days in advance to get the reduced fares in first/business class.

25 Ag92 : My father 'books' seats once the plans are final, though he doesn't ever issues his tickets until the very last moment
26 InbarD : I generally buy them a few months in advance. If you purchase frequent flyer tickets by points then you need to by the tickets even earlier generally
27 Analog : Or, if you're flexible about going, wait until right before you want to leave.
28 Planecrazy2 : For holiday travel, usually at least a few weeks before. For just flying home from school, varies from weeks to a day or two before.
29 CV990 : Hi! I've had both ways, some months in advance or a week....it depends if it's a long programed flight or it's a "last minute" meeting! The reason tha
30 TPA36R : I've bought tickets 4 months out..... You would really be surprised about the stuff you could find 24Hrs before flight time though, if you don't mind
31 777ER : I only book tickets when my plans are final. I'm currently in the process of confirming flights to DTW and LHR next August as part of Air NZs Northern
32 IAirAllie : Often within 24 hours of the flight. Never more than 2-3 weeks. My work schedule is too unpredictable.
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