New York State lawmakers in May renewed the current ticket-selling law, which expires annually; new pending legislation would stiffen civil penalties and impose criminal ones for bot usage. Meanwhile, there are two ticketing bills under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives, which would prohibit the use of bots and give the Federal Trade Commission enforcement authority. With significant reform unlikely to happen soon, how do you avoid getting gouged on ticket prices the next time you want to go to a ball game or take in a show?
Use a ticket resale website. Ticket resale websites, colloquially called "fan-to-fan marketplaces", have emerged specifically due to how much money there is to be made in ticket resale. Websites like StubHub will allow you to post your tickets in a trusted setting. These marketplaces are helpful because they're relatively safe and the buyers on that site will be there specifically with what you're selling in mind.
Kiwi.com, on the other hand, will mix and match airlines (including budget airlines) in order to find you the very cheapest route. For long-haul flights especially, this can make a huge difference. The same search on Kiwi.com returns a route at $459.80 USD via JetBlue, Norwegian Air, and Vueling. That’s a savings of $171.40 USD, and the travel time is even shorter!
This is because they structure their business around package holidays and, often left with undersold capacity, will offload their last-minute seats for low fares. If you’re keen on a last-minute one- or two-week getaway somewhere exotic but where the specific destination is not that important to you, I’d look there to score the biggest savings. Here is an example of how to spot them on Tui, showing fares such as Cancun at £229 return.
“I save money on travel by letting good deals dictate where I go. I use the TravelPirates app and follow The Flight Deal on Facebook to stay abreast of the latest travel deals. When a cheap ticket pops up that sounds amazing, I book it right away and plan later. I sometimes have trouble making decisions, so I love letting the deals decide for me.” —Jacquelyn Kyle, 28, a writer who takes at least four trips a year
While most airlines put a heavy surcharge on one-way tickets (often charging 80% of or sometimes the same price as a return), airlines such as Norwegian offer one-way tickets for roughly half the price of a return. This affects other airline’s prices, such as TAP Portugal and KLM, too. This means for trips to the US, particularly those when you might not know the exact date, or airport of your return, it makes sense to book a one-way ticket there, and another one back.
To see how ticket prices change as an event nears, we shopped for the best-priced tickets to two events on May 23: a Cincinnati Reds–Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game in Los Angeles and a Beyoncé concert in Minneapolis. For the ball game we started at the box office, then tracked ticket prices on the secondary market. For the concert we looked only on resale sites because the box office was sold out. We shopped for one seat, in the same general location, using seatgeek.com. Prices include all fees except for delivery.
When the pre-sale tickets for The Tragically Hip’s final tour went on a sale, many of the fans were shattered after realizing that the tickets, which were sold out instantly, appeared on reseller sites like StubHub at up to 10 times the original price. Similarly, in December 2015, the tickets for Adele’s US tour on Ticketmaster got sold out in a few minutes. Many of those tickets were up for sale on resale sites such as eBay, StubHub, etc., where even the floor tickets cost about $4000. These are just the tip of the iceberg as many such ticketing websites have fallen prey to ticket scalping attack.
This list wouldn't be complete without the mention of social media. The best way to stay on top of the latest in just about anything these days is social media. Find out what the best deals are right now in real time by following your preferred airlines on social media. Additionally, following #airfare on Twitter will provide you with the latest in flight deals from all of the major airlines and airfare sites.
Based on Skyscanner flight data from 2015 to 2017, looking at exits from the UK to all destination for the average flight price of return economy adult fare at the point of travel for each day of the week, and at the point of booking for each day of the week; London to Tenerife fares based on live results from Skyscanner.net on 15 January 2018, for a trip flying out of London 27 May 2018, returning 1 June 2018; London to Malaga fares based on live results from Skyscanner.net on 24 January 2018, flying out of London on 6 April 2018, returning 13 April 2018; London to Gran Canaria fares based on live results from Skyscanner.net on 15 January 2018, flying out 11 August 2018, returning 22 August 2018.
Timing is everything. You may be tempted to wait for the weekend to sit down and book your dream getaway, but experts say that flight prices are actually lowest on Tuesday afternoons when all the major airlines post their pricing updates for the coming week and before they can edit them to match their competitors rates. A tool like Google Flights and their price tracker can help greatly when searching prices on Tuesday afternoons!
And the third sort of interesting thing is that demand comes in waves. So when tickets go on sale, there’s a lot of demand initially, but there’s also more demand over time. So, for instance, in the music market, the sort of rule of thumb is whatever you sell in the first five days, you double that, and that’s going to be your total attendance. So there’s this disconnect between selling and when the demand arrives. So a lot of times people just speculate and buy tickets, and they buy it up when tickets go on sale and later sell them to people who want tickets at a later date.
That is where my ticket broker “career” began. On eBay. While I was in college, at Texas A&M (Gig EM!), I wanted really good seats for a TOOL concert. On the floor, in the pit. Ticketmaster had sold out of those seats, so I searched the internet and found that they were selling tickets on eBay for about $75 each. “Great”, I thought! I bought a pair and was fired up for the show. For years I always wondered how this person obtained these tickets and how easily he/she just profited from this transaction, for he probably made about $100 in ten minutes of work.
But getting to your Yankees game analogy, when demand is low, and it’s lower than expected, what do you do? And there’s two key things. The first is that you’re getting people coming to your site, the existing demand coming to your site. And if demand is low, intuitively people might think to make all prices cheaper. But I think if people are coming to the site to buy a ticket, they’re interested, and I would focus on trying to upsell into higher-priced seats. So they’re interested. They wouldn’t normally sit in the best seats, but if you have an attractive price, you might be able to get more money out of people who have an interest, who have a demand.
Hi! I was looking at flying to Hawaii and I decided to sign up for the United CC to save on luggage etc. well last Thursday when it was supposed to arrive…it didn’t, so I stupidly decided to wait another day, my flight round trip was still $671 4/16-4/24 Thursday night. Friday my card finally arrived and the flights jumped to $1032. I logged into my United account in expert mode and every flight still had plenty of T and L fares but it’s trying to sell me W fare on every flight, even if I change days, and even weeks, all are trying to sell W fares. Oh and of course lots of S fares available but not letting me book them. I won’t go if the flights are that much. Do you think they will come back down? Why would they not sell the remaining S and T and L fares? I tried calling United too, and the agent transferred me to the website support who told me they are all sold out, for the next several months (I don’t buy it). Input?
It’s rarer to find cheap last-minute flights with non-charter airlines. With those airlines the best time to book is around 6 to 12 weeks in advance – which is based on statistics garnered from tracking all flights. However, it varies heavily by airline, route and season, making it difficult to predict these. It’s all based on supply and demand, so if a certain route has a lot of demand this year it won’t fall in price.
If it looks like the delay is going to cost you more than the airline is offering -- like if you had a non-refundable hotel reservation, or miss a private helicopter ride (look at you!) -- you’ve got 30 days to try and get as much money out of them as you can. But once you put a check into your bank account, you’ve essentially agreed to accept whatever you were offered.