Over 2.5 million people fly in and out of U.S. airports daily on over 43,000 flights. Options for air travel are many, and to find the right price for your travel budget can seem overwhelming. Tips shared by friends and found on the Internet promise better ticket prices, but they aren’t always the best route to a bargain airfare. Here are airfare myths that are either outdated or wrong.
Travel Tuesday. In the past, airlines put most of their ticket offers in the computer on Monday, so the best deals on low fares were available for purchase on Tuesday. Now, airlines update fare schedules constantly.
A round-trip ticket is cheaper than two one-way tickets. Online travel research services report that booking two one-way flights is becoming more common and can be less costly than a regular round-trip flight.
A connecting flight will always be cheaper than a nonstop flight. You might expect to pay more for the convenience of a flight that gets you to your destination in less time without an extra stop. But for airline flights, that logic doesn’t hold.
The Saturday-night stay. At one time, airlines required a Saturday stay over to get the lowest fares. This was designed to influence choices by business travelers flying on an expense account. But protests from corporate travel managers and competition from low-budget airlines pushed the major airlines to change this policy. You can still find good prices for itineraries that include a Saturday stay because Saturdays tend to be slower air travel days.
Book as far in advance as possible. But this isn’t necessarily the best time to purchase your ticket. About three months before departure, airlines may begin to reduce ticket prices to encourage sales on flights that are not filled up.
Budget airline tickets are always cheaper than major airline fares. This may have been true in the past, but larger airlines have moved into the low-price-ticket market with new fare categories such as Basic Economy. However, these low fares can have restrictions you don’t expect from a major air carrier, such as the ability to select your seat. Read the fine print to know what you give up for the cheaper seat.