What Determines Airline Ticket Prices?


Quick Answer

Factors affecting airline tickets include the timing of the ticket purchase, the departure date and time, oil prices, location of departure and arrival airports, and demand for tickets on the flight. Flight costs fluctuate on a daily or even hourly basis as the factors change.

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What Determines Airline Ticket Prices?
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Full Answer

The cost of an airline ticket includes the base fare, taxes, fees and fuel surcharges. Many airlines charge additional fees for checked baggage, choosing a seat and extra services. If the airline faces increased costs for airport fees or fuel, the ticket prices may increase.

The demand for seats on a particular flight is a major factor in the cost of a ticket. Fares increase during peak travel seasons such as spring break or holidays when more travelers want flights. Flights to popular destinations also have higher demand for tickets.

The day of the week a traveler chooses to fly can impact ticket pricing. Friday and Monday tend to cost more due to heavy travel. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday flights generally cost less because fewer people travel those days. Tickets purchased in advance are often cheaper than last-minute flights. Some airlines offer last-minute deals if a flight has several empty seats.

Airline competition is another factor in pricing. A small airport with few airlines has less competition, so the airlines face less pressure to offer competitive fares.

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