Buying airline tickets with more advance notice definitely helps ensure you’ll get a good deal. Keeping that in mind, it is not a good idea to purchase your tickets before your plans for travel are finalized and your dates are confirmed because most airlines will charge you penalty fees to make changes to the airline tickets.
The day that you are flying is important. Typically weekdays have better fares. Fridays and Saturdays are usually more expensive versus a Tuesday or Wednesday. Please keep in mind that availability is also a factor so it is always best to check one day before and after the dates you are checking.
Also, airline tickets are priced seasonally. The fares will increase when it’s a more common season that people travel to a particular destination. For example the fares flying into Hawaii in January when it’s cold would cost you less than flying in June when it would be warmer.
Airlines are constantly updating fares throughout the day, but most airlines usually roll out new fares after midnight. As the day progresses seats sell out and the next lowest “cabin” or fares are left, usually resulting in a higher fare.
The best time to look for an airline sale is on Tuesday around 3pm (est.). Why Tuesday? Well, Tuesday is the busiest day for airfare sales. Since Tuesday is when most airlines release airfare sales you can find airlines competing against each other in price.
Please keep in mind that airfares are based on availability so it is always best to check one day before and after the dates you are checking. Advance purchase is also important, the more in advance you purchase the ticket the lower the fare will be. Airlines usually have advance purchases of 3, 7, 14, and 21 days. Don’t procrastinate, book early. Always look in advance. Airlines tend to charge more money as the date of departure arrives.
To some it up, fares are based on demand, availability, advance purchase, and seasonality.