After the traditional spike in airfares for the summer, prices are starting to drop, according to money expert Clark Howard.
As an avid traveler, Clark has been on the lookout for cheap fares from the major airlines. He sees some patterns that can greatly help your wallet. Paramount is this:
“If you’ve booked a domestic flight months and months ago, way before you are going to go, go back and shop that fare again,” Clark says. “Airlines are cutting fares on domestic flights.”
In this article, we’ll tell you what you can expect from domestic fares, including why they’re cheaper right now. We’ll also show you how to shop your airline as well as what you can expect from international fares.
According to a recent report from Going.com, you can find the cheapest and most frequent domestic flight deals out of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Denver.
Why Are Domestic Airline Fares Decreasing?
Clark says domestic fares are decreasing because airlines are continuing to adjust their pricing models based on past travel demand cycles.
“The way dynamic demand pricing works is that every additional seat of demand per flight pushes fares up on that flight,” he says. “Last year, airlines were using 2019 as the base year going back to pre-COVID. Now, they’re using 2020 data. So when airlines first post their fares on a route, even the cheapest available fare isn’t really cheap — it’s really high because they’re going by the historical averages.”
Demand for domestic travel is down this year compared to last year. This is causing the airlines to lower their prices. Clark says these changes are typically made anywhere from 30 to 45 days out from your travel date.
“As you look at fares moving forward, the fares are better as the bookings have softened,” Clark says. But it won’t last forever. According to airfare search platform Hopper, low fares will continue through the fall and climb as the winter holiday season approaches.
How To Shop Your Flight for a Cheaper Fare
Clark, who frequently flies Southwest Airlines, says that the carrier has recently made it hard to see if flights have gotten cheaper on your existing reservations. But there’s still a way to re-shop your flight to make sure you are getting the best deal.
“What you have to do — and I don’t know if this is true with other airlines — is you have to pretend you’re starting a new reservation. You price those same flights and if you see that it’s cheaper, then what you do is what I’ve had to do,” Clark says. “I then rebooked those same flights and went back and canceled the original booking.”
Clark has already rebooked nine times this year (we told you, he’s an avid traveler!).
Note: Rebooking typically won’t cost you anything unless you book Basic Economy fares, which Clark doesn’t recommend because they’re nonrefundable and don’t come with as many amenities.
When Will International Fares Get Cheaper?
“Overseas flights have been really full and fares have been very high. And that is not going to be better until I’m guessing sometime in 2024, but domestic travel is already better for your wallet,” Clark says.
Clark says domestic fares are getting cheaper and now is the time to act if you want a deal.
As you know, Clark plans his trips around a simple strategy that allows him to visit different places and save a lot of money.