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How far in advance can you book a flight?

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, new rules have been imposed on travelers to mitigate the spread of the virus. In 2021, US airports screened two million travelers in a single day, and passengers got fewer deals because there were fewer flights and demand was high. The best advice given due to the price increase was to get a ticket if you could afford to pay, instead of waiting around hoping the prices would drop. For this reason, a question that might have come to mind is “how far in advance can I book a flight?” Read on to find out as we also tell you if you are allowed to cancel if you change your mind.

It depends on the carrier

Skyscanner Details how different US carriers have different rules on booking a flight. For example, at Alaska Airlines, you can book 331 days before departure, but only by paying cash and using the Alaska Airlines app or website to book your flight. The same case applies to booking a flight in advance on America Airlines. However, while on American Airlines it’s strictly 331 days if you’re using cash, miles, or partner airlines, with Alaska Airlines you can book 365 days in advance for an award flight or when you use select partner airlines. Major airlines such as Delta Airlines, Pen Air, Fiji Airways and Hainan Airlines allow you to book an average of 330 days in advance. In others like Lufthansa, Korean Air, Iberia and Qatar Airways, you can book 360 days in advance.

The advantage of booking is the 24-hour cancellation rule, because something might happen that disrupts your travel plans. Therefore, the Department of Transportation has a 24-hour refund rule stating that airlines serving the United States, including international carriers, must issue a full refund when a reservation is canceled within 24 hours. Do not expect to book in January for a flight departing in July and still be reimbursed in the event of cancellation. The countdown starts immediately after the purchase is completed, but on the other hand, you are also allowed to hold the reservation at the indicated rate for 24 hours without paying. The rule comes in handy when you want to lock in a low-cost ticket before deciding if you want to go all the way and make payment. However, airlines may have their policies, for example when booking with American Airlines your fare is put on hold instead of refunding payments. As well, according to CN Traveler, the 24-hour cancellation and refund policy only applies when you purchase your ticket directly from the airline. It is crucial to note that the 24-hour cancellation and refund policy applies to flights booked seven days or more before departure. Any flight booked less than seven days prior to flight departure is not eligible for cancellation or refund.

Do we have to book in advance?

We’ve always been told that early risers get the worm, but CNBC published this is not the case when booking flights in advance. Usually, most passengers look for specific seats that they fear will become unavailable once the plane starts to fill up. They are therefore tempted to book ten months in advance. When you’re traveling in a group and prefer to sit together, it’s best to book early to help you choose your favorite spots. Also, most sources believe that if there are reward seats you want to grab, the best time is to book as soon as possible.

However, booking a flight 6-11 months in advance costs you at least $50 more. This increased price usually gives airlines the opportunity to adjust prices once competition has set in, and they are forced to lower prices a few months before departure. Still, the extra $50 isn’t much to ask, considering you have a lot to say about where you and your friends sit. Plus, if you’re prone to anxiety, booking earlier than others gives you the peace of mind you need knowing you won’t be rushing for a seat at the last minute. When money is tight enough, you can choose to wait up to five months before departure when the fare will be 20% cheaper than if you had booked 11 months in advance. The main booking window is between three weeks and four months before departure, and you can pay significantly less, usually within 5% of the lowest fares. If you are a risk taker, then published by CheapAir, you’re more likely to push your luck and book your ticket two to three weeks in advance. You can enjoy a cheap fare, but seating options are limited. it will be by chance if you can find an aisle or window seat. Fares will be higher when booking within two weeks of departure because the airlines know you are desperate, but fares will be much higher when booking within days of departure. As the article tells us, you can pay up to $208 more than the airlines charge during the main booking period.

Myths about the best time to book a flight

  • Booking a flight in advance has given rise to various myths, one of which is that the best day to book is Tuesday. According to Nomadic MattThis old belief stems from the fact that in the past most airlines offered flight deals on Tuesdays, leading people to believe that they should always be on the lookout for Tuesdays. These days, many factors go into an airline’s decision when pricing these tickets. These include weather, demand, seasons and more. Still, booking 21 days before departure dictates how much you want to be on the flight, leading to higher fares. It’s best to stick with the main booking window when you’re on a budget.