Anonymous
Anonymous asked in TravelAir Travel · 1 month ago

How come plane tickets get more expensive the closer it is to the departure date? Why isn't it the other way around?

When a store is having trouble selling something that they want to get rid of, they tend to mark that item down. They don't INCREASE the price of the item and expect to sell more that way.

Why don't airlines do the same?

For example, lets say there is a plane with 200 seats on it, and the airline started selling tickets from a particular departure date and destination a few months ago.

But 24 hours before departure time, there are still 30 unsold seats on that plane.

Typically that is when those seats will cost more, but why?

It's not like the airline makes any money from unsold seats.

The plane is going there anyway, and where the occupied seats go, the empty seats have to follow.

Why aren't they willing to take what they can get at that point?

7 Answers

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  • 1 month ago

    If the airlines did that, then people would just buy a last minute ticket.  If you buy early, the airlines get your money now.  Plus if you buy a last minute ticket, you have fewer options so you are more willing to spend the money.  

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  • 1 month ago

    Because it costs the same to operate a flight with 250 passengers or 300 so may as well make as much as possible which is the point of being in business. There's no incentive to have a full plane unless they're making money. 

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  • DEBS
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Flights are almost always 90-100% full these days.  If you see 30 seats open when choosing a seat, it's more likely because some people bought the cheapest fare which doesn't allow them to pick their seat.  It will be assigned after everyone else has picked there's.  

    So what you really have is last minute demand for a very small supply.  Also know that airlines know that if you're booking that close to departure that you likely will pay more (often business travel).

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  • 1 month ago

    This is because demand, So for example.

    When their is loads of available seats, they try to advertise great prices so people book that flight to look like their is more demand when people look at seats,

    Closer to the departure dates, the seats begin to fill with people booking due to prices going up closer and closer, so they can put their prices up because there is less seats now so they know that the buyer will pay that much before seats are completely sold.

    You will also notice, if you go on and look at prices and a few days later look at it again, even tho you haven't booked, there is demand of people searching that certain flight. it is a cheeky little thing sadly everywhere does.

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  • 1 month ago

    They aren't raising the prices of seats. There are a certain number of tickets in each of the price ranges available and the cheap seats sell out first leaving only the more expensive tickets. Airlines don't have to lower prices to sell out the plane. There are very few empty seats on any flight these days.

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  • Daniel
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    I'm sure that they worked out the numbers and figured out that it makes them more money to inflate the price of last minute tickets for people that don't have much of a choice for their last minute travel needs versus dropping the prices for people that might buy them on a whim.  

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  • 1 month ago

    Airline companies almost never have trouble selling seats to capacity or near capacity. In fact many flights are overbooked on the premise that some people will not show up. If a plane cannot be 80% booked they need to either cancel the flight or discontinue that whole route.

    • Tom1 month agoReport

      Many flights are overbooked but still there are many with seats to spare. I could go on any airlines website right now, and find a flight to any city that leaves this evening, and find a plane with a seat available to me.

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