Last Minute Fares Cheaper than You Thought

When your travel plans change at the last minute, or a personal or business emergency arises, you may find it difficult to find reasonable last minute fares. Last minute fares are often very volatile. These types of tickets can change rapidly in price as it gets closer to the day of the flight. If you limit your options, you can find that the price you are charged is extremely high or on flights that are less than ideal. By considering all possibilities, it is still possible for you to find reasonable last minute fares.

Airlines take stock of their remaining seating inventory electronically as the date and time of departure draw near and employ the theory of supply and demand in adjusting fares for their flights. Because of that, last minute fares are often quite a bit higher than fares purchase weeks or months prior. As the supply of seats dwindles but demand remains for the remaining seats, airlines have the advantage in being able to charge far higher prices than when there are more seats than interested travelers.

Even though last minute fares are typically higher than advanced-purchase, there are still bargains to be found. The smart traveler will investigate all available options before purchasing a ticket. On popular routes covered by multiple airlines, terrific deals are often still available very close to the date of the flight as carriers compete with one another for your business. On less popular routes where airlines have a hard time filling up planes, the best deals can sometimes be found right before the time of the flight, as the carrier would rather make some money by selling you a reasonable last minute fare than fly with an empty seat.

Travelers can also benefit by carefully studying the fare rules for the flights being considered. A way to find reasonable last minute fares is to purchase a ticket that does not mandate a certain amount of time between sale and flight. Other conditions to avoid when purchasing a last minute fares are tickets that mandate a certain amount of time between departure and return, or a Saturday-night stay-over.

Investigate both discount websites and airline websites when you are purchasing your last minute fares. Discount websites might purchase a block of tickets at a discount price that they are then able to sell to you at a quite reasonable rate, even very close to the date of departure. If fares like that are not available, it may be in your best interest to deal directly with the airline, as they often roll out surprisingly good deals closer to departure that might not be extended through discount sites.

The most important thing to keep in mind when purchasing your last minute fares is not to make an impulse purchase. Do not assume that simply because you need to buy a ticket quickly, you have to pay the first (and often highest) price you find. Check around and work with any flexibility you might have. Even when time is of the essence, you can find reasonable last minute fares.

Save money, save time and save frustration by using remember these common-sense tactics to help you the next time you are in search of last minute fares.

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