Five Ways to Avoid Overpaying for Your Next Flight | Money

2. Constantly Check Airfares
While it’s nearly impossible to monitor airfares constantly, it’s important to set up some type of price-tracking system in order to nab the best airfares. There was a time when airlines had actual people adjusting the prices, but now they’ve automated all of that. So you also need automation on your side in order to take advantage of discounts.
Sign up for airfare tracking services, such as those provided by Hopper or Kayak. Hopper not only tells you when there’s a price drop, but also sends notifications when its algorithm predicts prices are unlikely to drop further. If your destination is flexible, check out newsletters like Scott’s Cheap Flights or Next Vacay.

3. Time It Right
When you purchase your ticket matters. The rule of thumb is book early—but not too early. If you book a flight nine months to a year in advance, chances are the price is going to drop at some point, Chang says. There’s a sweet spot that tends to be one to three months, but that does vary based on the route. And don’t expect a lot of last-minute deals. Generally there’s a jump in prices two to three weeks out, Chang says.
The time of the flight also matters, Chang says. If you have the ability to take a flight during off hours, you may be able to score a better price, as it’s less popular.

4. Know Your Airline
Some airlines are more targeted toward certain types of customer segments. Delta, for example, really focuses on business travelers, Chang says. These tend to be airlines that have hubs in business centers—they price their flights at a premium, and don’t vary the prices much. American and JetBlue, on the other hand, are notorious for varying their prices, Chang says—because they’re trying to target everyone.The number of airlines servicing the route plays into the price too. Take, for example, the relatively recent plunge in airfares to Europe. Many of those price drops came because ultra-low-cost carriers like WOW and Norwegian have joined the fray and expanded their routes, Chang says.

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Five Ways to Avoid Overpaying for Your Next Flight | Money.