Are you a seasoned traveller, a one-off flyer or somewhere in between? Exactly how much do you know about those airfares you're purchasing once, twice or 10-plus times in the year? There are a lot of airfare myths being passed off as truths. It's time we busted these myths wide open and sent them to the no-fly zone.
MYTH #1: Booking your flights last minute is the best way to make the greatest savings.
Travellers are more likely to secure greater savings by booking domestic flights 21 days or more out from departure date. For international flights, aim to book at least two months in advance.
‘Last minute’ savings are often up for grabs but for those who prefer to be a little more prepared, booking in advance will save you more money. Keeping an eye on earlybird deals, released about nine months before departure, is the best way to snap up a bargain early on in your travel planning.
It is also worth noting that the day of the week and time of day can impact on the fare you pay – the best savings are had on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
MYTH #2: Everyone on the plane, in the same cabin class, has paid the same price for their seat.
As the aircraft fills up, the prices climb higher. Each incremental increase is what is known as a ‘fare bucket’.
Airline seats are a perishable commodity. Once the flight departs there is no value on that seat to the airline so their goal is to sell every seat on every flight.
Seats in an aircraft are divided into ‘buckets’ with a particular price and airfare rules attached. Once the lowest fare bucket is sold, a price from the next lowest bucket is offered and so forth until the flight is sold out.
Once the flight departs the seat has no value (Getty)
Sometimes these buckets may not sell as quickly as the airline had anticipated so they may add in a lower fare bucket or a sale fare to entice more sales – hence last minute sales.
Conversely, if the seats are selling quickly or it’s a popular time of day or year to be flying, the airline may add in higher fare buckets. These can change minute by minute as bookings are made.
MYTH #3: It doesn’t matter how far in advance you book your airfare.
Airlines only make airfares available for booking 10-12 months out from departure. This means you can only book a flight 10-12 months in advance of your departure date.
However, this coincides with the release of earlybird deals so for those who like to plan in advance, you can pounce on a great deal if you forward-plan.