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When is the best time to get a cheap airline ticket?

Geoff Riley

1st September 2019

This is a deceptively simple question but one whose answer has many layers of complexity. Conventional economic theory suggests that travellers who book very close to departure time tend to be price insensitive (i.e. have a low coefficient of price elasticity of demand) and will tend to pay premium prices.

But Simon Calder's excellent article here in the Independent finds a contrarian example - if you are looking a for great deal when flying to Australia then leaving it to the last minute is often the best route to a great deal. The huge distance to an extent takes the necessity of travel off the table although external factors such as tropical storms and political turbulence can make this decision a risky one.

If you are prepared to overcome some of the hurdles including the likelihood of two stop-overs, then long distance travellers can quite easily get a terrific price for their journey.

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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