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I'm planning to fly from Australia to Japan for a conference that straddles May and June, but unfortunately they haven't released tickets for the conference yet. I'm 95% sure I'd be able to buy a conference ticket when it gets released, but not totally sure. Thankfully, I have three weeks of annual leave, which gives me a bit of flexibility for when I fly.

I'm currently planning on waiting until conference tickets get released before booking any flights, but I'm getting twitchy.

What approaches can I use to see if prices are likely to increase soon?

Approaches I can envisage are

  1. Check what's happening with flights a week or three ahead of when I want to fly. (This was mentioned in Flight tickets: buy two weeks before even during holiday seasons?)
  2. Check whether some flights on more popular days around my flight time are starting to go up in price, and if that's happening, choose other days that haven't gone up in price yet.
  3. Sign up for some travel website "last seats selling" alert? (Are these things trustworthy?)

Additionally, is there any way of telling if a date I want is likely to be peak season for travel and therefore sell out faster than approach #1 would indicate?

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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

When you search for flights on kayak.com on the results page (left top corner) is a Price Trend. You can click on the info box and it shows you the price trend for the past 90 days and the cheapest departure date for that month. It also predicates if the price will rise in the next week or so with a confidence %. That might be helpful. You can also set up alerts for daily or weekly emails of the price for your specific flight.

According to Fare Compare (http://www.farecompare.com/travel-advice/tips-from-air-travel-insiders/) best day to buy flights are Tuesday afternoons and cheapest day to fly is Wednesday.

I have never worked with "last seats selling" but companies that sell these tickets have a reputation of not being very flexible if you have to make changes to your flight i.e. non-refundable and non-transferable.

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Some airline companies, such as Ryanair (pictured), show how many seats are left at a particular fare.

(Of course with Ryanair there is always a catch: They don't tell what will be the fare once those seats are taken.)

Ryanair web site showing seats left

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For short haul flights, one factor that can increase prices is sporting events. If a sporting event is annouced in one place for one date, then the flights to that region for that date can increase a lot. If you're worried about flights increasing, check if there are any sports fixtures due to be annouced. Some sporting events (e.g. UEFA the football tournament in europe) are spread over large areas (last time it was spread over half a dozen locations in Poland and Ukraine), and one country might be playing in one area. So for example, when the groupings are announced, and one finds out that (say) Ireland's matches will be played in one part of Poland (as happened last time), then the prices of flights between Ireland and that part of poland can increase suddenly.

Probably not to important for long haul flights like Australia → Japan.

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