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The Price You Pay For An Airline Ticket Is All In The Timing

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — You’re seated on a flight to NY and you paid $450 for the ride. The woman sitting next to you could have paid half that…and it might have come down to a simple equation…when you bought the ticket.

CBS2’s Sibila Vargas reports on something every flyer will want to hear on the CBS2 News at 11 p.m. Thursday…when and how to buy tickets at the cheapest rates you can. Listen up.

Says Dr. Teri, “Am I disappointed with my fare? Yes, I’m paying $300 to get to Oakland, and I paid $350 for my daughter to go to New York. So it’s outrageous!”

Another passenger named Brittney is in clover over her deal. “I got an excellent fare. I paid $39 with JetBlue and I’m going to San Francisco.”

$300 to go to Oakland and $39 to go to San Francisco!? What gives?

Reports Vargas, “Timing is everything when it comes to buying an airline ticket. Just ask Southland residents who got many different prices…some for the same destination. And because prices even vary day-to-day, it’s hard to know when you’re getting a good deal and when you’re being taken for a ride. Literally.

A cranky flyer wants to know why its more expensive to fly on a Wednesday than it is on a Tuesday. A lot of it depends on demand.

Vargas inteviews Brett Snyder, the cranky flyer in question. He’s the president of Crankyflier.com.

He explains that the airlines determine how many seats on a particular flight will be sold at a particular price based on several factors. The seat right next to your can be a cheapie or very pricey.

Snyder explains, “The actual price of the seat might not have changed. It’s just that someone [else] bought a couple of seats and now all of a sudden the cheap seats are all gone and they have moved up to the next price.”

Prices will also vary based on the days you fly, Snyder says. “There’s no set day that says if you book this day, you will always get the cheapest deal, that’s sort of a myth. But on days you travel, certainly there are peak days and off-peak days.”

For the best deals, Snyder says “flexibility” is key. Note: Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally your low cost bets as a travel day. He also says it’s a good idea to avoid leaving on a Saturday for resort destinations or places where cruise ships are departing.

You will also want to avoid those peak holiday travel days when everyone and their brother (and cousin) seems to be standing on line with you at the airport. Definitely avoid the Sunday after Thanksgiving!

Leaving the Monday after or the Saturday before can save you anywhere from $60-110.

And another rule of thumb, says Snyder. Book way in advance, as early as possible. Three months before is ideal, says Snyder. Reports Vargas, “Chances are you’ll find your best deal within that time range.”

For more information about the CrankyFlyer, click here.

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