Your mother ingrained in you that it’s the early bird who catches the worm. This may be true in most situations; however, when it comes to finding an air travel deal, procrastination sometimes pays off.
Airlines don’t like half-full flights. Empty seats do nothing to help them recoup fuel and payroll costs, and they require the use of a plane that could potentially be used in a more heavily traveled route. Airlines often oversell seats to ensure that flights will be full.
In addition to overselling seats, many airlines also slash airfares at the last minute on flights that haven’t been filled. This can create an attractively priced last minute vacation deal for anyone who’s willing to wait.
Of course, what you gain in discount you may lose in options. Buying last minute could mean a less-than-desirable seat. Also, not every flight is discounted at the last minute. You run the risk of missing out on a seat altogether or paying a steep fare if you do this.
Still, if your travel plans are very flexible and you can wait, last minute fares may result in everything from discounted airline seats to discounted hotel rooms and discounted cruise vacations. The early bird might still catch the worm—but it’s the late one who saves a bundle on a flight.