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Pro Tips for Cheaper Flights (It's Actually Not Rocket Science)
 

Two former airline executives share advice on how to navigate airfare purchases.

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Ever want to know the secret to getting a cheaper flight?

Early last week, two experts--Bill Brunger, former vice president of continental airlines and Scott Nason, former vice president of revenue management at American Airlines--spoke at a conference hosted by Airlines for America and shed a little light on the science behind airfare pricing, reports Businessweek--which could give you a leg up the next time you have to buy a ticket.

First the basics of pricing: Prices for seats are separated into different market categories--so a single flight can have 20 or more different prices. With this is mind, know that airlines typically overbook flights according to Brunger and Nason, but buying tickets a year in advance won’t necessarily translate into a deal on airfare. 

So what can you do? Well there's no way to game the system, so to speak, but a little common sense goes a long way, according to these experts.

Book early. The pair of experts recommended that you don’t wait too long in the hopes of grabbing a last minute seat at a good price--this doesn’t really happen. Ticket prices will just get higher the closer you get to departure. 

Book at a price you can swallow. If you find a price that you are okay with, you should just go for it. “If the fare feels like a fairly good fare, I would buy,” Nason said. Sometimes, they said, looking around just wastes time.

Stop checking. Once you buy a ticket, do look back. Just accept that you bought at that price and move on. Unless you have the time to learn from changes in prices, checking will just induce buyer's remorse. 

IMAGE: Adams Carroll/Flickr
Last updated: Sep 30, 2013

ABIGAIL TRACY is a staff reporter for Inc. magazine. Previously, she worked for Seattle Metropolitan magazine and Chicago magazine.
@abigailtracy




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