8 Airfare Myths Debunked
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Flying is about the worst fun thing a person can do. On the one hand, boarding planes generally means adventure. They could take you on vacation, home for the holidays, off to meet a long lost lover or even just out of the office for a few days. Personally, whenever I step on a plane I imagine disembarking to some lonely bar with fans slowly rotating overhead, wearing a Panama hat and carrying all my worldly belongings in one battered, leather satchel.
In this scenario I am, of course, a cross between Indiana Jones and the Dos Equis man .
Of course the reality is far less romantic. In my informal survey of one, flying rates just below getting audited by a bitter ex. Nothing about the experience really counts as fun, but there are ways to make it all a little bit better or worse.
Still one surefire way to make buying and using those tickets more painful is going in blind. Too many myths circulate about the airline industry, and marching into an airport confident that you can game the system will only leave you grumbling at the gate agent as they reassign you to a seat right next to the bathroom. Don't believe me? Here are eight:
#1. Last Minute Fares
This may be the single biggest myth about the airline industry: hours before a flight airlines will sell tickets for a song.
"First is this myth that never seems to go away," said Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir.com, "that if you wait until the last minute the airlines will have all these empty seats that they will practically give away. It's absolutely not true. In fact...the worst day to buy your flight [is] the day before."
This myth has become pervasive enough to take over TV shows and even entire ad campaigns , but it's as wrong as it is popular. The truth is that the airline industry has gotten incredibly good at predicting demand. These days most flights run either full or oversold, and if a few seats remain open, they cost an arm and a leg. Want a good deal in the air? Plan ahead.
#2. Planning Too Far Ahead
Don't plan too far ahead though, because here's our second myth: you can never buy tickets too far in advance.
As a general rule, tickets get more expensive the closer you get to a flight, so it seems intuitive that earlier is always better. Unfortunately, in this case, intuition will steer you wrong.
"It's kind of the opposite of the first one," Klee said, "that the earlier you buy your tickets the better, because that's not true either in most cases. It's more true than that waiting until the last minute can be good... but if the worst thing you can do is buy too late, the second worst thing you can do is buy too early."