TRAVEL

What’s the best day to book a flight in Spain?

New study reveals optimal times to make an online purchase for the upcoming Easter holiday

August remains the most expensive month of the year to travel anywhere.
August remains the most expensive month of the year to travel anywhere.REUTERS

Today, February 9, is the best day to purchase plane tickets online for the Easter holiday.

That is according to the latest report by Skyscanner, a global search engine for flights, hotels and car rentals.

The website’s data shows that the best moment to make a purchase in Spain is seven weeks before the trip date. Travelers who book now could save 10 percent on Easter flights.

“If you see an offer on Thursday, buy it – don’t wait for Saturday”

Recent years have seen a rise in websites that trawl through airline and travel agency prices in the hopes of detecting patterns that will let them recommend the best days to buy.

George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog, told The New York Times that even if the latest research points to weekends as the best time to buy tickets, “if you see an offer on Thursday, buy it – don’t wait for Saturday.”

His twenty-year experience analyzing the online travel fare market tells him that companies are constantly playing with their pricing, making it increasingly difficult to get the forecast right.

The seven-weeks-early recommendation cited by Skyscanner coincides with the 57 days recommended by the travel booking platforms Expedia and FareCompare.

Another travel expert named Patrick Surry, a scientist who produces the Hopper reports, says that customers have some leeway until 15 days before their planned travel date. After that, prices can go up by as much as 29 percent.

Still, there are no rules etched in stone. Hobica notes that it is possible to find discounts of up to €500 on last-minute flights between the US and Asia.

Depends on the destination

After analyzing bookings for the last three years, Skyscanner believes that each European destination has its optimal reservation dates.

“You can find discounts of between 17% and 20% if you plan trips to London and Brussels two months in advance, whereas Paris requires 10 weeks. In the case of Rome or Amsterdam, it is advisable to book three months ahead of time.”

Overall, January is the cheapest month – except for travelers to Paris, who are advised to go in November. August remains the most expensive month of the year to fly anywhere.

According to Skyscanner, February is a good month to go to Bangkok and Lima (15% discount) and March to Buenos Aires. New York and Havana are desirable destinations in November, when discounts of 22% and 10% can be found.

Hyperactive prices

K. G.

You have been searching for travel fare online, repeating the same search with the same destination, and you finally found a good price. But instead of buying it immediately, you decide to go have lunch first. When you come back, an additional €100 has been added to the price tag.

And maybe next time you search for a flight, you will get messages warning you that “There are only two seats left!” or “There are 45 people looking at this offer!”

Evidently, someone has identified your weak spot. And they have done so using software that traces your online behavior, which ultimately means that you will probably end up paying a little more for that plane ticket than you originally thought.

This price and search discrimination, which is discussed in a research paper by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, is already being investigated in France. In the meantime, one way to fool the software is to search for a ticket and buy it on two different devices. It also helps to eliminate the cookies on your usual web browser.