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Report: 2016 to be a Banner Year for Air Travel

air travelThe year 2016 is shaping up to be a great one for travelers to save money as they take to the skies, according to a report released recently by Expedia in partnership with the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC).

The report, titled, “Preparing for Takeoff: Air travel outlook for 2016,” is the second annual look at global air travel data, and it highlights key trends for both consumers and air industry professionals.

Flight Prices to Expect in 2016

Globally, with prices adjusted for exchange rates, Expedia’s analysis of data found that economy air ticket prices declined roughly 8 percent year-over-year between October 2014 and October 2015, with the biggest drops in July and August of 2015.

flight_booking“Intra-Europe flights declined the most, indicating that 2015 was a great year for air travelers in general and even better for those visiting Europe and booking flights between European countries”, the report noted.

“Fare changes in a previous year are often good indicators for the year to come and based on 2015 analysis, 2016 is expected to be another good year for travelers to save money as they take to the skies.”

Another way travelers can save money is to book air at the same time as hotel and rental car in a package. This process, known as “bundling” delivers discounts across the board: Expedia data for the first nine months of 2015 shows customers saved an average of $226 based on actual bookings, but easily can expect to find deals that can save them up to $568 across different destinations.

When to Purchase Airline Tickets?

Booking-FlightsAfter analyzing data from more than 10 billion passenger flights to determine the biggest potential savings for tickets prices based on advanced purchase, Expedia and ARC determined that the best time to buy an economy ticket for travel within North America is roughly 57 days in advance, yielding a potential savings of about 10 percent versus the average fare.

For European travelers, the best time to buy an economy ticket for another destination within Europe is 140 days in advance as the average fare booked at more than 140 days was $156.41 compared to an average fare of $175.69 for fares booked between zero and 180 days in advance.

What day of the week is the best to purchase airline tickets: Weekends

calendar-iphone_1According to the report, while advance purchase is a key aspect for determining when travelers should buy a ticket, it is not the only factor to consider.

In previous reports, Expedia and ARC have suggested that Tuesday is the best day, by a small margin. Looking at 2016 and based upon 2015 data, Expedia and ARC found that on average, weekends provide an opportunity to find great deals, with Tuesday still close behind.

There are general caveats to consider when searching for the best flight deals. For example, most analyses will show low air ticket prices on weekend days because these are the days on which most leisure travelers purchase tickets. Business travel, on the other hand, is most often purchased during the week and has a higher air ticket price on average.

Given this information, and accounting for a rapidly changing market for airline fares, Expedia and ARC advise that travelers who find a fare that looks like a great deal to purchase it, regardless of the day of week.

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