Passengers can get the lowest fares if they buy six...

Passengers can get the lowest fares if they buy six weeks before their flight, according to a study by Airlines Reporting Corp., an Arlington, Va., company that handles ticketing transactions between airlines and travel agents. (Feb. 9, 2012) Credit: iStock

Even when buying airline tickets, timing is everything.

Passengers can get the lowest fares if they buy six weeks before their flight, according to a study by Airlines Reporting Corp., an Arlington, Va., company that handles ticketing transactions between airlines and travel agents.

The study looked at millions of transactions for airline tickets over the past four years and found that passengers pay the lowest price, nearly 6 percent less than the overall average fare if they buy six weeks before their flight.

Ticket prices begin to soar about a week before the day of travel, and can rise nearly 40 percent above the average price if bought on the day of the flight.

"We're not advising people to purchase tickets only at this time during the cycle as there is no guarantee they will receive the lowest price of the year," said Chuck Thackston, managing director of data and analytics for the firm. "It is just that the data indicates we have seen this pattern over the last four years."

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