Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

[TRAVEL] Why I try to book air travel earlier than later

Christoph Trappe

August 20, 2017


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There are many studies are out there on when the best time is to book your air travel:

  • 10 weeks out
  • 12 weeks
  • On the weekend
  • Late at night
  • Etc.

And while I’m not disagreeing with anyone’s data here today, here’s what works for me and how I book my air travel: Once a trip is confirmed, book it. And that’s for a number of reasons that I will share here.

I use Google Flights to monitor costs and usually it looks like this:

It’s pretty much a flat line. Sometimes it goes up:

Very rarely do I see a huge decrease from when I first started monitoring. Once a Chicago-bound flight went from $750 to $260 and that convinced me to fly over driving. So it happens but it’s rare. So that’s factor number one.

But I do sometimes see huge increases, like this one  where the American Airlines flight jumped from $800 to over $2000. Mind you that’s economy and not even first class:

Changes like this are also one reason why I started not including travel cost in my professional services fees. For example, I quote a client-whether a conference or onsite workshop-an all-inclusive number and if that’s based on the current travel cost it can  really cut into my expected revenue if it jumps from $800-$2000.

The other day I saw a similar example where we were looking to book a trip for four to Puerto Rico. Four tickets were approximately $2800 and three days later that jumped to almost $3200.  Of course, there are many other ways I can spend $400 on a family vacation then just as an added fee for air travel. So I was glad that I booked before jumped.

The other thing is that the longer you wait the fewer good seats are available. Being 6’4” I prefer to get an aisle seat and in an exit row when flying economy. When I book months out (when that’s possible) I have plenty of choices. When I book flights coming up in weeks or days it’s not that uncommon that only middle seats remain:

For those reasons, I try to book as soon as possible.

Of course the seat situation is similar when I switch to a different flight the day before a trip. But whatever the reason to switch a flight was usually outweighs a middle seat.

When I book first class – where there’s no middle seat – a similar concept applies. I still prefer aisle seats over window seats. When should you consider booking first class? I always check the cost difference and sometimes it’s surprisingly minimal.


(This post was first written in May 2017 and updated in August 2017.)

Disclaimers: The information provided in articles is for informational purposes only and not personalized advice. It's accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time it's published. Enjoy and best of luck telling the best stories in your organization and life!

Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Christoph Trappe. I've written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs. If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I'm always happy to chat! Thanks for reading! - Christoph 319-389-9853

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