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Has it ever happened to you that you saw an airline ticket fare quite nominal a week before a flight, but the moment you landed on airline’s reservation counter at airport on a flight day, you found no available seat? Has it ever pissed you off? Have you ever scolded a ticketing officer for that matter? Do you think they lie about it? Has it ever crossed your mind why it happens almost every time?

Most importantly, have you ever wondered what mechanism works behind it? If you have been through any of such situations, you are not an uncommon person at all. However, it is important to understand how an airline’s ticketing and reservation system works.

flight booking

How the Ticketing System Works?

If you are familiar with a concept of supply and demand, it will be a lot easier for you to understand it. In a nutshell, if a product or service has high demand and supply is short, the rate will be higher and vice versa. When a flight is empty or fewer seats are sold, the fare stays lower. With seats being sold gradually and an aircraft is now getting filled, the fares climb a peak.

Factors Resulting in High Fares

If you want to know about the credibility and capability of a doctor, ask his patients. Similarly, frequent flyers can guide you the best about an optimum time to purchase a ticket or things to take care of. Traveling in an emergency is an exception that doesn’t happen all the time. However, you can save quite a great deal of money and hassle while booking a ticket way ahead of time. Many contributing factors that need to be considered among which the major factors are traveling season, destination, and competition of airlines.


Generally, the driest months of a year are peak times for tourism in every country. You cannot enjoy a trip in shivering chilly weather or during wet months when holding an umbrella becomes a primary job. During a period of driest months, more people tend to travel, and flights get filled in no time that results in continuous high fares.


If you wish to travel to mainly unknown countries like Aruba and Belize, good luck with finding a flight, and even if you find one, the fares will possibly be lower all year. However, if you are traveling to a traverse destination like New York City, London, Paris, or any popular destination, the fares will always be higher, especially in a peak season.


Fares are also affected by competition between airlines. If you have only one international airline for your desired destination, you are bound to pay their demand, but if you have options to choose between airlines, that’s where the fun begins. The more airlines traveling to your desired destination, the more passengers will be divided, and since it will become difficult to pack an aircraft fully, they will maximize their sales by keeping low fares.

Now that you know about a generic system of ticketing and reservation, factors affecting fares, and your previous awful experiences at a ticketing counter, it is better to know about the best time to purchase your flight and its possible benefits.

Best Time to Book a Flight

There is no exact science to get the best or minimum fare of any flight. However, the usual practice is an early booking of a trip, and that brings us to another question, “How early?”. It depends if you are traveling for business, visiting a family member, or traveling on a vacation holiday. It also depends on whether you are booking a domestic flight or an international flight.

For domestic flights, the best recommended time internationally is three weeks to 3.5 months before the flight. It is very unusual, but many passengers have also purchased a minimum-fare ticket during the last moments of flights. It only happens when an aircraft is not filled up to the requirement of an airline, or they don’t want to leave their remaining seats vacant. You always have more airline options for domestic than international flights. Therefore, the competition is high, but during a peak season, you should better get your booking done at least a month ahead of a flight.

The best practice is to hold your booking online and pay for it in the airline’s office or purchase online.

International traveling is mostly preplanned, especially when it comes to a vacation trip or traveling for any special event such a New Year’s Eve. It is recommended that you purchase your flight from a minimum of 2 months to a maximum of 8 months ahead of your flight. You don’t have to be too early or too late to buy. You might be traveling to attend a concert of Tomorrowland, make a bachelor trip to Miami, a honeymoon trip to Santorini Island or a business trip to Washington, the major expenses you incur are airline’s ticket and hotel accommodation. Make your booking at least four months ahead of your desired flight, save some money, and enjoy the best of your traveling.

Benefits of Advance Booking

Today, a competition between airlines is more than ever. At the same time, they have to do a profitable business, so they apply different strategies that also benefit advance ticket purchasers. A booking of desired flight coupled with benefiting strategies of airlines makes it an excellent combination for a traveler.

  • Minimum Fare.
  • Save time, money, and last moment hassle, including long queues, no seats, a problem in documents, short of cash, credit card not functioning and malfunctioning POS machine.
  • Many airlines tend to offer discounts during their least minimum fare classes. So if you purchase during those periods, you may travel at lower than their minimum price.
  • Discounts on purchasing from a debit or credit card of specific banks also apply to such minimum fare classes.
  • Since aircraft is almost empty, there are strong chances that you get leg space seats or front row seats.
  • If they find any problem with their documents, they get enough time to settle them down and purchase their ticket.

Suffice it to say that early booking of a flight for a preplanned journey is a huge favor you can do to yourself. If you have ever been a victim to a hassle of last moment ticket booking, try to book a ticket way earlier for your next travel journey to experience the difference.