Skyscanner has reported a significant change in the way people are booking flights since the global downturn began.
Examining data for three of its most popular routes from the UK, Skyscanner found that, although overall search numbers were up in 2008, users searched for flights an average of 146 days ahead of when they planned to travel, but in 2009 this dropped to just 34 days.
Barry Smith, Skyscanner co-founder and director commented:
“There are two obvious reasons for this trend for later bookings. In the middle of the UK’s worst recession in decades many people didn’t want to book holidays too far in advance, in case they lost their jobs.
“People also need to feel confident about the viability of airlines. Over the last 18 months, a number of airlines have folded and people are much more cautious of losing flights if they book too far ahead.
“The irony of this is that although people are understandably keen to be financially prudent, it can be self-defeating as it’s almost always cheaper to book flights in advance – prices tend to rise the closer you get to the date of departure.”
This wisdom was reinforced by cheap flight hunters commenting on Skyscanner’s Facebook page:
“I book early if possible – it’s definitely cheaper. I pay on my credit card so don’t care if an airline goes bust – that is what insurance is for” said one user.