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Flying from TN to TX next Friday - should I wait to buy?

San Francisco...
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Flying from TN to TX next Friday - should I wait to buy?

Hi all,

I'm in a quandary. Here I am, an inexperienced traveler on a business trip, trying to make a side trip from Nashville to Houston next Friday, 10/26, for a close friends wedding.

Here's the thing: the ticket from TN to TX was $120 this Wednesday, but today (Friday) it's jumped to $300! Now I'm kicking myself and cursing the airline gods for their cruelty.

So here's my question: I know that tickets are cheaper on certain days of the week, so maybe I wait till this Tuesday to buy my ticket. But I also know last minute tickets can get real pricey, and that would only be 3 days before my flight.

So what do you guys think is the right move here? Do I buy my ticket ASAP and pay the Friday night price, or do I wait for a weekday right before my flight date and hope the price drops down?

Experienced business travelers, my electricity bill will thank you for your advice!

Scotland
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1. Re: Flying from TN to TX next Friday - should I wait to buy?

Nothing to do with days of the week. Everything to do with fare buckets. As you are now within 1 week of travel, the cheaper fare bucket you saw is likely not to be available any more. Airlines assume that anyone booking this late must really need to be somewhere and adjust fares accordingly. As you get closer to the day of travel, you should expect the fare to keep rising...

London, United...
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2. Re: Flying from TN to TX next Friday - should I wait to buy?

Yes I agree, would be unusual if the price started dropping now, normally you would see a steep hike as people booking this late normally need to travel a d have to pay the prices.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Flying from TN to TX next Friday - should I wait to buy?

The day of the week and time of day stories are urban myths. Some deeply discounted fares require a seven to 21 day advance booking, which also knocks that tale on its head.

What is more germane is whether the route you wish to fly has multiple carriers operating or if it's one with limited service. It looks like United Express operate the only nonstop direct service from BNA to IAH, so not much competition on the route.

Book sooner rather than later, especially if you want to make the nonstop and direct journey.

Houston, Texas
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4. Re: Flying from TN to TX next Friday - should I wait to buy?

This price increase always happens 7 days out as restricted, cheaper tickets have a 7 day pre-departure purchase requirement.

You might try either Southwest or USAir for flights. They sometimes sneak lower fares into the mix post 7-day cutoff.

Fortaleza, CE
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5. Re: Flying from TN to TX next Friday - should I wait to buy?

Airlines are cruel because prices go up as number of vacant seats decreases? You didn't buy when you thought about it. Sometimes that works out, and sometimes it doesn't. Southwest currently showing $239 from BNA to HOU (Houston Hobby; closer in than IAH and easier to use) one-way on 10/26. Expedia shows United starting at $290 (plus baggage fees) to IAH. I would not hesitate, due to the short amount of time until your trip.

Edited: 20 October 2012, 14:24
Canada
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6. Re: Flying from TN to TX next Friday - should I wait to buy?

Why do travellers not understand the economics of supply and demand? Not a difficult concept.

Detroit, MI
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7. Re: Flying from TN to TX next Friday - should I wait to buy?

Book now. You already missed out on any price break since your outbound is within seven days. Your return is probably more than seven days out, so it will most likely go higher once it is within seven days.

texas
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8. Re: Flying from TN to TX next Friday - should I wait to buy?

I would do SWA at 239 that day to Hobby. Would rather do Hobby anyway, and it is closer to actual Houston downtown if wedding is there.

San Francisco...
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9. Re: Flying from TN to TX next Friday - should I wait to buy?

I did buy the $239 ticket on southwest, thanks all!

I curse the airline gods for punishing a man's late purchase necessitated by the uncertainty of his work. Yes, I'm aware of the notion of supply and demand; but I'm also aware that when a group with a monopoly on such a vital service coordinates their pricing double/triple the price of seats that often remain empty anyway, they are not doing it because of the natural demand of the marketplace, but the demand generated by necessity from emergencies and last minute work trips.

Raising price due to demand created by necessity is not healthy capitalism, its gouging. Militias in Africa do it with the food and water they steal from aid groups, crack dealers do it with their addicts, and utilities are heavily regulated to prevent that.

Scotland
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10. Re: Flying from TN to TX next Friday - should I wait to buy?

You didn't really just equate American Airlines' revenue management strategy to militias stealing aid supplies in third world countries, did you?