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Best times to book air travel and other money-saving tips for this year

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Photo_Expedia+ARC release

Expedia group and Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) have released the findings from the fourth annual Air Travel Outlook Report. A hallmark collaboration between two leaders in air travel, this year’s report was expanded to include premium fare insights, with commentary from Egencia, the corporate travel brand of Expedia group, to uncover a broader spectrum of air ticket pricing trends for all classes

Their experts analyzed billions of data points for domestic and international air travel globally to identify key patterns that travelers can use to achieve airfare savings in 2018. Besides revealing tips on how and when to find the best airfare savings in the coming year, the Air Travel Outlook Report also uncovered the top drivers of air travel demand in 2018, busiest air travel hubs in 2018 along with the top sources of passenger flows for these hubs.

Key findings include:

  1. Asia-Pacific poised to be the biggest driver of air travel demand in the next two decades

Based on the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast, air travel routes to, from and within the Asia-Pacific region will see an extra 2.1 billion annual passengers by 2036, growing by an annual average rate of 4.6 percent. China is also anticipated to displace the US as the world’s largest aviation market by around 2022, while India is being tipped to surpass UK to take fifth place in 2025, with Indonesia catching up by 2030. Additionally, Thailand is anticipated to enter the world’s top 10 largest markets during the forecast period.

  1. Airfare saving tips for 2018: best times to book your air travel

For most Economy air travel, booking more than 30 days ahead of your travel date often results in cheaper airfares. Additionally, booking your air travel on a Sunday for departure on a Thursday or Friday is the best recipe to find good prices. However, there were notable exceptions to this trend, particularly for flights departing internationally from Australia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Thailand within the Asia-Pacific region. For Thailand, the lowest air ticket prices (ATPs) can be found when you book an international Economy flight on a Saturday, for departure on a Thursday.

The lowest ATPs for international Economy travel were found in:

  • January from Japan
  • February from Indonesia
  • March from Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore
  • November from South Korea and Thailand
  • December from China

For most premium air travel (First and Business Class), booking more than 30 days ahead also tend to result in cheaper airfares. However, when it comes to the best days to booking international premium air travel, booking on a Saturday or a Sunday for travel on a Friday or a Sunday tends to have the lowest ATPs across geographic regions. The difference in the premiums paid for purchasing airfares on the most expensive day versus the cheapest day of the week can range from 15 percent to 120 percent for international flights.

For premium travelers who can afford to be flexible with travel dates, avoiding travel during the months where the highest ATPs were recorded historically may save you some money. June saw the highest ATPs for Australian and New Zealand travelers; while for most parts of Asia, the months between April and September had seen the highest international premium travel ATPs.

  1. Singapore among the top five busiest air travel hubs in Asia

The majority of Asia’s busiest airports are concentrated in North Asia, with the exception of Bangkok and Singapore, in Southeast Asia. For Economy travel, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, and Taipei emerged as the top five Economy travel hubs in Asia, with the majority of passenger flows originating from airports within the region.

For premium travel, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Seoul emerged as the top six premium travel hubs in Asia, with majority of premium passenger flows coming in from airports in Asia, USA, and Europe.