Earlier we explained how budget airlines such as Southwest change flight prices. Southwest airlines are known for changing price very often, several times per week. You could see that price go up and down and it is not always best strategy to book too early.
At AirHint we have been researching airline price changing patterns for several years. Southwest is one of the key airline we focus our analysis on. The following chart is an example of one pattern which we have discovered.
It shows the chances of finding cheaper fare later for a given week until departure. In other words if you wait and don't buy a ticket now, what are you chances to get a better deal later.
It shows that the safest approach to find best deal is book no later than 9 weeks to departure. However even 7 weeks to departure the chance are still over 50% and drop sharply afterwards.
The next chart shows the best period to find the cheapest Southwest airfares by looking at the average price for hundreds of flights depending on weeks to departure.
Besides time to departure there are other factors which affect budget airline prices: seasonality, popularity of destinations, balance between offer and demand etc. It is pretty difficult for a traveller to take all these factors into account when booking tickets. So usually travelers make purchase decision emotionally or relying on previous experience.
As researcher, we prefer to make data driven decisions and offer all travelers tools that might help beating smart airline price management algorithms. There are lots of smart analysts and powerful yield management system working on the airlines side. As travelers we need simple tools which can help us to save money by booking at the right moment.
AirHint price predictor for Southwest airlines is the service which advises when to buy budget airline tickets. The idea is to help travelers find the best moment to book flights.
For a user it is clean and simple. You choose origin, destination and departure date. The tool finds the current price for the flight and analyzes it using historical data and our prediction model. As the result, you will get the recommendation whether to buy flight tickets now or wait more. Also it shows the price drop chance and the benchmark of the current price vs. other departures for the same month.
The accuracy of recommendations for Southwest is approx. 79% and we keep improving it. So 4 out of 5 recommendations we make, are correct as later proved by historical data. With more users make queries in AirHint accuracy will improve even more over time. This is a crowd-sourcing effort to save money and time on your Southwest flight tickets.
Behind the scenes, the algorithm uses historical data about price changes and processes it using its machine learning model, calibrated specially for Southwest airlines customers. The model learns how prices of each airline change and suggest the best time to buy your tickets in real time.
Travelers can use these recommendations as another input when searching for cheap flight tickets. AirHint provides hints supported by numbers, which explain the logic of each fare prediction.
You may find hints related to the flight, time to departure, destinations, price statistics or other helpful price tips related with the selected Southwest flight.