Saturday, September 30, 2023

Google now tells you when is the best time to buy a flight

For travelers, there’s nothing that inspires price anxiety like knowing when to buy flights. Buy now or wait for falling prices? But what if prices go up? What happens if you wait too long and the flights are sold out? So many headaches, so much time, and so much mental space

Travel booking companies always make predictions about the best time to book the cheapest flight ticket. By processing historical data, they can recognize patterns and make forecasts, but there are always fluctuations from year to year. When Google recently updated its “crystal ball” with data for the first seven months of this year, it found that to be the case Most trends from 2022 carried over into 2023, with two notable exceptions.

When it comes to buying flights for the upcoming holiday season, average prices will be lowest 71 days before departure, compared to last year’s forecast that prices would be lowest just 22 days before departure. So mark your calendar: according to Google, the best time to book a flight for the weekend before Christmas 2023 is the first few days of November.

This massive seven-week change is actually a course correction, explains James Byers, group product manager for Google Flights. Last year’s forecast was based on data that also included 2020, which, in hindsight, “wasn’t the best indicator of what to expect going forward,” Byers says. Therefore, his team excluded the year 2020 from their data set for this year.

For travel departing from airports in the United States between December 20, 2023, and January 5, 2024, Cancun, Mexico, is the most searched destination on Google Flights. The most popular travel destinations in the US are mostly places with hot weather: Miami and Fort Lauderdale; New York; San Juan; Honolulu; Orlando; and Los Angeles.

The other big difference that Google has identified for the rest of 2023 compared to last year concerns flights to Europe. The long-standing advice to buy early still applies, as transatlantic flights are typically at their lowest 72 days or more before departure. But Google says there’s no longer a sweet spot where prices go down before they go up again. “We’re now seeing that prices don’t tend to go down at any point before launch but generally go up once about 10 weeks have passed since launch,” Byers says. “Interestingly, this change appears to be the result of including the most recent data through July 31, 2023, in this year’s knowledge set.”

For travelers planning a trip to Europe over the holidays this year, the top searched destinations on Google Flights are all-time favorites: London and Paris.

For travelers who prefer to sit back and be notified when airfares drop, Google’s price tracking tool sends an email alert when airfares drop significantly. You can set up tracking for specific dates or enable tracking for “any date” to receive emails about price drops over the next three to six months.

And for those who are risk-averse and want something safe, Some Google flight search results now come with a guaranteed price tag, which means that Google is so confident that the fare shown won’t go down before departure that it will refund the difference if the fare goes down.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, customers get their refunds through Google Pay.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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