Well, there you can find thousands of articles that tell you that booking in advance is something that will always help you get the cheapest flights. Completely agree. What I really wouldn’t see the point in doing is writing another article that tells you the same thing.
Instead, I just wanted to write a few quick notes for the curious why is this a strategy that airlines use? Why take advantage of this?
There are several reasons that make it happen. To understand this, we need to understand what will happen if this strategy does not exist. Of course, we humans like to do things at the last minute and a huge number of people will be able to book flights on the last day. Why book in advance? Imagine that for some reason you have to cancel it! Of course, we are not stupid and we would do the last thing before leaving.
You could tell me that some people will book earlier for fear of running out. It may be, but if you look at airplanes nowadays, you will find that there are always other places left, except on major holidays. This would be another article, but here comes one of the main reasons why there are discounted tickets!
Why are airlines not interested in last minute bookings? Well, they have to plan ahead for many reasons. Knowing the occupancy of the planes, they will allow them to analyze the situation and change the prices accordingly, they must plan the food they will need for this flight, as well as the space needed for luggage. If they knew the plane would be almost empty, they were in time to make changes and choose a smaller plane to travel.
At the same time, the people who usually book at the last minute are those who travel for business reasons. As discussed in another article, business travelers are expected to pay more because their companies are the ones who pay for plane tickets, so fares are planned according to their needs. What I want to say is that the high fare will not scare any company, but it could scare many tourists. It is better to let tourists book beforehand, as they have reduced the budget, and then business travelers will not have a problem to afford higher prices.
Short and easy. These are the reasons why airlines have better prices for the first occupied seats.