A new study by the online travel giant Expedia finds that the average price of an airline ticket has dropped significantly this year — although more in some places than others. And it predicts a continuation of that trend in 2016.
Adjusting for exchange rates, Expedia said that during the 12-month period from October 2014 to October 2015, average economy class ticket prices worldwide dropped by about 8 percent. The declines were even bigger in July and August, with year-over-year drops of 13 and 10 percent respectively.
For trips within North America, the reduction was slightly smaller — an average decline of 5 percent through the first 10 months of 2015, Expedia said. The change was much more dramatic across the Atlantic: The average price of economy class tickets for intra-European travel was down 17 percent this year vs. the first 10 months of 2014. Ticket prices from North America to the Asia-Pacific region were down 13 percent from a year ago, Expedia noted.
The study also determined the relative savings available from advance purchase. Looking at tickets purchased at least 21 days before departure, Expedia found that the average cost savings was 31 percent for intra-North American economy travel and 27 percent for premium seats. From North America to Europe, there was a 21 percent savings in economy and 20 percent on front-cabin seats.
As for the best day to buy a ticket, Expedia said that whereas in earlier years its studies determined that Tuesday and Wednesday offered the best prices, this time it found that weekends are better, “but Tuesdays are still close behind.”
Looking ahead to 2016, the Expedia analysts predict that “prices will continue to trend downward as airlines continue to add capacity,” although it did not estimate how much they might decline.
The company said it has introduced a new consumer feature: a tool (“powered by a proprietary statistical model”) that customers can use during their fare searches. It provides a percentage of the likelihood that a given fare will increase or decrease a week in the future, to help the user make a buy-now-or-wait decision.
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