In short, distance and demand are pivotal factors that determine flight ticket prices.

Travel is just like any other valuable commodity, and it’s priced so that when demand is low, prices are low, to stimulate sales. Likewise, when demand is high, prices are high to capitalise on the interest.

To do this, airlines set up a pricing schedule for their flights, putting the seats into price ‘buckets,’ and as one ‘bucket’ fills up, they open the next, more expensive one up for purchase.

‘Airline pricing models are complex, with tickets priced low enough so passengers can afford them, while keeping airlines profitable. Airlines use complicated algorithms to set their pricing, which weigh up determining factors including the nature of the airline (e.g., is it a low-cost carrier or premium airline), the itinerary, and the cabin class. These all have a bearing on how much the traveller pays for the ticket. However, there is one factor which outweighs all of these and is the ultimate determinator for the price paid: The order.

Airlines rely on a degree of seasonality in travel and price their fares to balance the affordability of their flights, as well as their own profitability. Ticket prices fluctuate, and booking at certain times – for example, at the last minute – can be more expensive as there is less supply to meet demand.

Generally, prices are higher during school holidays (Easter, summer holidays and half terms) and especially in the Christmas and New Year period – although winter can be the cheapest time to travel, outside of the holidays. And try to book at least four weeks in advance of travel for the best prices.

According to our data and flight price history, Tuesday is the day to book.
Most airlines launch their discounts on Monday nights, so you can pick up the best prices on Tuesday mornings. In general, by booking on a Tuesday you could save somewhere between 15 and 25% on your flight ticket.

When you’re booking your next flight, it’s important to know that prices fluctuate. These price changes reflect how airlines react to sales and external factors, with the aim of filling up their planes.

Contrary to popular belief, and very much similar to stock prices, flight prices are affected by sales numbers rather than search volumes.

So no matter how many times you hit the refresh button on a particular route, know that you’re not driving up the price by doing so.