As late summer approaches, peak airfare prices are about to end. Fall may be a good time to plan a trip as seasonally lower airfare arrives. Trans-Atlantic ticket prices usually drop on August 21, while domestic fares to U.S. locations ordinarily start to come down on August 22.
Linda de Sosa, vice-president of Woodlake Travel, says there’s more to consider than seasonal variations. “There’s a lot of variables when you’re looking at fares,” she says. “One of them’s going to be advance purchase. The second thing is going to be availability.”
Availability means the basic laws of economics apply to airfares and ticket prices. “You’ve got supply and demand [not] just with the fares themselves,” she points out, “but then with each individual flight. If a flight’s more popular and a lot of people are booked on it, they’re going to raise the price.”
Another factor is where you plan to go, and when. “You also have to look at the desirability,” de Sosa says. “You could look at an Alaskan cruise, and the rates are going to be lower in September, but there’s a reason for that, in that the temperature’s lower.” On the other hand, Paris in August is hot and miserable. She says flexibility in your vacation plans will help your travel agent find the best deal for you.
Then there are the times we live in. De Sosa says “travel to Europe in general” is down lately. She says a lot of Americans are still going there, “but I’ve also seen a much higher increase in people going to Canada and Alaska and Hawaii, and I suspect part of that may be terrorist avoidance.” She says you still have a “much, much greater” chance you’ll “be hit by some idiot texting on the way to the airport