Predicting the dates for the next airfare offer (no sale in September?)

Predicting when exactly a airline would declare an airfare offer is like predicting the rain. Its complicated. But, we are finding that it can indeed be predicted to a reasonable extent. Earlier this year, we were able to establish a threshold, when crossed, increases the expectation of an airfare sale and we called it the UnfareScore. However, it does not tell us the exact time frame when the sale is going to happen.

With the huge amount of airfare data that we now have at Unfare (http://unfare.in), we are now able to build certain logical models that can reasonably predict the time frame of an airfare sale. While this is still work in progress, we wanted to publish our estimates in advance.

No fare sale expected in September:

Airfare sales happen around a month before a period of low demand. The sale is meant to stimulate the demand. The month of October is a high demand period, with many festivals (Durga Puja, Diwali, etc.) and hence there is no incentive for the airlines to discount the fares. Air tickets will get sold by itself thanks to the high demand in the market. Hence, we do not expect any meaningful airfare sale to happen in the month of September.

Fare sale expected to start in October:

Airfare sales are expected to be back right from the first week of October. Why is it so? Just like we identified October (high demand period starts 22 September) as a high demand period, the month of November is a low demand period and airlines will have to discount the fares in order to sell the tickets. Currently, we have data only till the end of November and hence December demand estimates can only be made at a later date.

Looking forward:

While the prediction of the airfare sale period is still a new thing for us, we are confident that we will be able to quickly learn from our predictions and update it back to make the model better. Starting next year, we will also be able to cross check the previous year’s sale period and hence further fine tune the sale predictions.

There are two important questions that we are trying to find answers for:

1. When is the fare sale expected?
2. Which dates will get discounted fares during that fare sale?

Our estimates:

1. Fare sale is expected around the first week of October (3rd or 4th Oct mostly)
2. At the moment we can estimate that flights for 7-9 November are surely going to get discounted (obviously, there are more, but we need a few more days to be sure of that). Generally, flights for the month of November could get discounted.

Big disclaimer: This is the first time we are doing such an estimation. Unless we get this right a few times, we will not make a recommendation based on this model. Once we validate it, we can publish such estimates ahead so that you can plan your ticket purchases accordingly.

Just like predicting the rains, this is one prediction, if made right, is going to benefit a lot of people. We are excited!

Ram Rahim sentencing and the airfare spikes

Last week saw unrests in Haryana and Punjab due to the sentencing of Ram Rahim, the leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda. Trains were cancelled and the road links were affected due to curfew like situations in many parts of these states. Once again, just like the impact of the North East floods on airfares that we analyzed last week, we decided to have a look at the impact of this unrest on the airfares in this route.

We queried our airfare database (where we store the airfares for predicting future airfare movements for Unfare: http://unfare.in) for the following key routes that we understood were most affected by the protests. In all these routes, flights became the only mode of transportation due to the shutdown.

We are charting the movement of airfares across days and then adding similar trend for a comparable airfare for reference. This reference airfare is the trend observed for the same flight departing a week earlier.

Chandigarh – Delhi:

The flight in particular that we found with high surge fares was a Jet Airways flight 9W-2654 departing Chandigarh at 18:05 and arriving at New Delhi 70min later at 19:15 for the flight date 27 Aug.

As you can observe here, till 6 days before the flight, the airfares follows a normal trend and then suddenly spikes from Rs.4912 to Rs.18,063!

Delhi – Chandigarh:

The flight in particular that we found with high surge fares was a Jet Airways flight 9W-2767 departing New Delhi at 16:30 and arriving at Chandigarh 70min later at 17:40 for the flight date 27 Aug.

Once again, the airfares follow the pattern until around 5 days before the flight and then it surges dramatically to Rs.14,499.

Amritsar – Delhi:

The flight in particular that we found with high surge fares was a Vistara flight UK-813 departing Amritsar at 15:10 and arriving at New Delhi 75min later at 16:25 for the flight date 29 Aug.

Observe how the airfare move from a normal fare trend till 3 days before flight at Rs.4702 and then suddenly surge to Rs.24,408.

Delhi – Amritsar:

The flight in particular that we found with high surge fares was a Vistara flight UK-787 departing New Delhi at 19:55 and arriving at Amritsar 65min later at 21:00 for the flight date 28 Aug.

Observe how the airfare move from a normal fare trend till 3 days before flight at Rs.4702 and then suddenly surge to Rs.24,408.

Closing note:

There is a very clear trend of fare surge due to the unrests in Punjab and Haryana following the sentencing of Ram Rahim. However, it should also be noted that even though these surges were real, unlike the fare surge during the floods in Assam, the minimum available fare were moderate. That is, even though the Vistara flight from Amritsar to Delhi for 29th Aug was at Rs.24,408, there was an alternate flight in the same route for Rs.4780.

Could this be due to more number of flights in these routes compared to the North East sectors? We definitely think so.

Airfares surge 10 times in 24hrs for this flight in flood affected North East India

It was the many tweets that were being sent to the Civil Aviation minister that alerted us about the ongoing airfare surge in flights to and from flood affected areas in the North East. With the trains being cancelled, flights became the only available means of transportation for the people of North East India. Given the sudden demand in air traffic, the airfares jumped even up to 10 times in a single day! So we decided to analyze the surge and present the facts before you.

Photo: Reuters

This kind of airfare surges were observed earlier too. The floods in the Kashmir valley surged the airfares in and out of Srinagar. Same happened with Chennai during the Chennai floods. It happened with Chandigarh during the Jat agitations.

Two of the worst affected airports in the flood map for North East are Bagdogra and Guwahati. Flights to and from these airports are the most affected by the airfare surges. In order to make a meaningful comparison, we chose to compare the observed surge fares with the flights for 12th Aug, as it is a known high demand flight date (Saturday before the independence day weekend) and 14th Aug, as it is a known low demand flight date (right in between the Independence day weekend).

Guwahati – Bagdogra:

The flight in particular that we found with high surge fares was a Vistara flight UK-868 departing Guwahati at 13:20 and arriving at Bagdogra 65min later at 14:25 for the flight date 22 Aug.

As you can see here, the fares for the flight departing 22 Aug, which were just Rs.1682 as observed on 18th Aug, that is 4 days before flight, surged to Rs.16,402 the very next day. That is almost a 10times increase in airfare within 24hrs!

Guwahati – Kolkata

The flight in particular that we found with high surge fares was a SpiceJet flight SG-658 departing Guwahati at 15:10 and arriving at Kolkata 80min later at 16:30 for the flight date 20 Aug.

As you can see here, the fares for the flight departing 20 Aug, which were just Rs.4269 as observed on 16th Aug, that is 4 days before flight, surged to Rs.13,571 within 2 days. The airfares for 20th were initially on the same trajectory as seen for 12th Aug date. The clear breakout from that trajectory is surely due to the demand in the last 4 days.

Bagdogra – Kolkata

The flight in particular that we found with high surge fares was a Jet Airways flight 9W-7159 departing Bagdogra at 12:50 and arriving at Kolkata 60min later at 13:50 for the flight date 21 Aug.

As you can see here, the fares for the flight departing 21 Aug, which were just Rs.3945 as observed on 16th Aug, that is 5 days before flight, surged to Rs.16,887 within 3 days. The airfares for 21st were initially on the same trajectory as seen for 12th and 14th Aug date. The clear breakout from that trajectory is surely due to the demand in the last 5 days.

Kolkata – Bagdogra

The flight in particular that we found with high surge fares was a GoAir flight G8-538 departing Kolkata at 12:50 and arriving at Bagdogra 65min later at 13:55 for the flight date 20 Aug.

As you can see here, the fares for the flight departing 20 Aug, which were just Rs.3830 as observed on 16th Aug, that is 4 days before flight, surged to Rs.15,981 within 2 days. The airfares for 20th were initially on the same trajectory as seen for 14th Aug date. The fares were probably sold out by 18th Aug as we could not find a fare observation after that.

How about Indigo and AirIndia?

After seeing the surge fares for Vistara, SpiceJet, JetAirways and GoAir, we were wondering what really happened with Indigo and AirIndia?

For this, we took the route of Bagdogra – Kolkata, a route that had seen one of the highest surge fares. We looked for Indigo and AirIndia flights for 20th Aug and 21st Aug, the 2 days for which we saw the high surge fares. We took flights that departed closest to the Jet Airways flight departing 12:50 which had high surge fares.

For Indigo flight 6E-958 departing 12:35, the maximum surge for the flight departing 21 Aug was only Rs.8480. Hence this got sold out by 18 Aug.

For AirIndia, since we couldn’t find a comparable flight in this route, we looked at the route Guwahati – Kolkata for 20th Aug. We took flights that departed closest to the SpiceJet flight departing 15:10 which had high surge fares.

For AirIndia flight AI-775 departing 18:50 on the same day, the maximum surge for the flight departing 20 Aug was only Rs.4321. Hence this got sold out by 17 Aug itself. Same happened with the AirIndia AI-730 departing 11:45 which surged till Rs.10,027.

Whether there was indeed an internal fare limiting logic built into the pricing algorithms or was it just because the seats got sold out before the surge happened is something that these airlines alone can answer.

Closing note:

While the airlines are allowed to freely adjust airfares to the market demand, calamities like the floods and the subsequent surge fares increase calls to regulate the high fares. The above analysis is just an effort to indicate the level of surge pricing that is currently ongoing in the North East sectors.

While this type of analysis may not have been possible in earlier airfare surge instances, thanks to our huge database of airfares that is currently used to predict future airfare movements (Unfare: http://unfare.in), we are able to go back and check the airfares and present this information to you. We hope the flood situation improves, rail and road connectivity gets restored and the fares come back to normal levels in the North East.

PS: In case you have a suggestion for a better chart or better representation of airfare data, do reach out to us at: berty@unfare.in . Given that this is an ongoing issue, we will update this post with additional fare analysis as and when that is available. Observations regarding airlines, especially on Indigo and AirIndia are based on the fares that we have observed every morning at 5am. In case you are aware of surge fares that we have missed, do let us know about it in the comments.

Prediction of seasonal surge in domestic airfares in India

The good times of low airfares are soon coming to an end. Surge times are ahead of us. This is the seasonal surge that is expected and we can already see the surge fares in the horizon. In order to calculate and predict the exact period of surge, we decided to do look deeper into our airfare database.

We looked into the trend of fare surge that was ahead of us and converted that into percentage points above the lowest observation in this time period to determine the surge %. It should be noted that this is the average of fares observed for the same group of routes that we use to automatically identify an airline offer or discount sale.

What does this signify?

  • The period of high airfares is going to be between 21st September 2017 till 6th November 2017.
  • Notice the surge peaks around Durga Puja (surge: 82%) and Diwali (surge: 112%).
  • If you are planning to travel in this period, just book your ticket at the earliest. You cannot expect a discount sale for this period.
  • In the next 2 weeks (before end of August), we can expect one last airfare sale before the surge begins. But this sale will NOT cover any of the dates which are of high demand as shown in the graph above.
  • Post that fare sale (if it happens), the next expectation of airfare sale will only be around 1st week of October 2017.

We did one more thing. Remember, we told you that the above graph is actually for a group of domestic routes? We know that Durga Puja is approaching and wanted to check how the surges are going to be like for flights to and from Kolkata (you know, just to rub it in!).

As expected, the surge was higher for Durga Puja. But as you can see, Diwali surge for Kolkata isn’t that small either!

In order to help our app users, we will continue to monitor the airfares and recommend/ predict the airfare movements as always in our app: Unfare.in. Do share this information with your friends who are planning to travel in this period. If there are any specific routes that you want us to analyze further, do let us know in the comments or tweet to us @Unfare_app.

GoAir offers flights starting Rs. 949 in India | Flight deals | August 2017

Our Unfare app has spotted new flight deals! GoAir offers a sale of air tickets at discount starting Rs. 949 in India. The discounts can be availed from 15th August 2017.

Is it really on sale?

Out of the 173 domestic routes of that we track, we could find fares dropping on 163 routes when compared to yesterday’s prices. The Leh – Srinagar sector has seen more than 50% drop in fares compared to yesterday. Sectors like Jaipur – Bangalore, Bangalore – Patna, etc. have seen more than a 20% drop in prices today. So yes, it is indeed a fare sale.

 Did we predict this offer?

As you are aware, we have a fare sale barometer for each airline. Based on that, yesterday’s UnfareScore for  was 33.2 (anything above 50 has a chance of fare sale). So technically, it did not breach our cut-off for a sale prediction. The index today for is 7.4. So hurry! (check all airline scores here).

Where are the best flight deals?

Given that the discounts are available only on a limited number of seats, it is important that you act fast and book your tickets at the earliest. In order to help you easily find out the dates on which these low fares are available, we will be adding a tool soon to our app – Unfare. We can see that the low fares starting from Rs. 949 are available in the sectors like Bagdogra – Guwahati, Chennai – Hyderabad, etc. So hurry!

Check out all the fares and airfare predictions on our app – Unfare. For airfare deal alerts, which will inform you as soon as the Unfare app spots a flight deal in the market, do create a free account on the Unfare app. More on that in our Facebook and Twitter page.

Jet Airways offers flights starting Rs. 1020 in India | Flight deals | August 2017

Our Unfare app has spotted new flight deals! Jet Airways offers a sale of air tickets at discount starting Rs. 1020 in India. The discounts can be availed between 11th August 2017 till 16th August 2017.

Is it really on sale?

Out of the 396 domestic routes of Jet Airways that we track, we could find fares dropping on 366 routes when compared to yesterday’s prices. Sectors like Chandigarh – Leh, Leh – New Delhi, etc. have seen more than a 40% drop in fares compared to yesterday. Sectors like Pune – Chennai, Indore – Raipur, Jodhpur – Mumbai, etc. have seen more than a 30% drop in prices today. So yes, it is indeed a fare sale.

 Did we predict this offer?

As you are aware, we have a fare sale barometer for each airline. Based on that, yesterday’s UnfareScore for Jet Airways was 51.7 (anything above 50 has a chance of fare sale). So yes, this was in line with our predictions. The index today for Jet Airways is 0.0. So hurry! (check all airline scores here).

Compared to earlier Jet Airways offers

Jet Airways came up with a fare sale around 14th February 2017. Compared to the earlier offer, this sale has 2.5 % lower prices.

Where are the best flight deals?

Given that the discounts are available only on a limited number of seats, it is important that you act fast and book your tickets at the earliest. In order to help you easily find out the dates on which these low fares are available, we will be adding a tool soon to our app – Unfare. We can see that the low fares starting from Rs. 1020 are available in the sectors like New Delhi – Jaipur, Aizawl – Guwahati, etc. So hurry!

Check out all the fares and airfare predictions on our app – Unfare. For airfare deal alerts, which will inform you as soon as the Unfare app spots a flight deal in the market, do create a free account on the Unfare app. More on that in our Facebook and Twitter page.

Vistara offers flights starting Rs. 799 in India | Flight deals | August 2017

Our Unfare app has spotted new flight deals! Vistara offers a sale of air tickets at discount starting Rs. 800 in India. The discounts can be availed between 8th August 2017 till 10th August 2017.

Is it really on sale?

Out of the 180 domestic routes of Vistara that we track, we could find fares dropping on 173 routes when compared to yesterday’s prices. Sectors like New Delhi – Ahmedabad, Jammu – Srinagar, Srinagar – Jammu, etc. have seen more than a 40% drop in fares compared to yesterday. Sectors like New Delhi – Srinagar, Srinagar – New Delhi, etc. have seen more than a 30% drop in prices today. So yes, it is indeed a fare sale.

 Did we predict this offer?

As you are aware, we have a fare sale barometer for each airline. Based on that, yesterday’s UnfareScore for Vistara was 54.6 (anything above 50 has a chance of fare sale). So yes, this was in line with our predictions. The index today for Vistara is 0.0. So hurry! (check all airline scores here).

Compared to earlier Vistara offers

Vistara came up with a fare sale on 23rd March 2017. Compared to the earlier offer, this sale has 5.8 % lower prices.

Where are the best flight deals?

Given that the discounts are available only on a limited number of seats, it is important that you act fast and book your tickets at the earliest. In order to help you easily find out the dates on which these low fares are available, we will be adding a tool soon to our app – Unfare. We can see that the low fares starting from Rs. 799 are available in the sectors like Jammu – Srinagar, Srinagar – Jammu, Guwahati – Bagdogra, etc. So hurry!

Check out all the fares and airfare predictions on our app – Unfare. For airfare deal alerts, which will inform you as soon as the Unfare app spots a flight deal in the market, do create a free account on the Unfare app. More on that in our Facebook and Twitter page.

SpiceJet offers flights starting Rs. 998 in India | Flight deals | August 2017

Our Unfare app has spotted new flight deals! SpiceJet offers a sale of air tickets at discount starting Rs. 998 in India. The discounts can be availed between 3rd August 2017 till 6th August 2017.

Is it really on sale?

Out of the 302 domestic routes of SpiceJet that we track, we could find fares dropping on 157 routes when compared to yesterday’s prices. Sectors like New Delhi – Jodhpur, Jodhpur – New Delhi, New Delhi – Udaipur, etc. have seen more than a 50% drop in fares compared to yesterday. The Chennai – Hyderabad sector has seen more than 40% drop in prices today. So yes, it is indeed a fare sale.

 Did we predict this offer?

As you are aware, we have a fare sale barometer for each airline. Based on that, yesterday’s UnfareScore for SpiceJet was 62.5 (anything above 50 has a chance of fare sale). So yes, this was in line with our predictions. The index today for SpiceJet is 40.8. So hurry! (check all airline scores here).

Compared to earlier SpiceJet offers

SpiceJet came up with a fare sale around 27 days ago on 7th July 2017. Compared to the earlier offer, this sale has 11.7 % higher prices. This is the 7th discount sale for SpiceJet in the last 3 months. Earlier sales happened on 9th May 2017, 7th July 2017, 28th June 2017, 23rd May 2017, 18th May 2017, 10th June 2017.

Where are the best flight deals?

Given that the discounts are available only on a limited number of seats, it is important that you act fast and book your tickets at the earliest. In order to help you easily find out the dates on which these low fares are available, we will be adding a tool soon to our app – Unfare. We can see that the low fares starting from Rs. 998 are available in the sectors like Aizawl – Guwahati, Chennai – Bangalore, Chennai – Coimbatore, Chennai – Hyderabad, Coimbatore – Chennai, New Delhi – Amritsar, New Delhi – Jaipur, Agartala – Guwahati, Bagdogra – Kolkata, Pune – Ahmedabad, etc. So hurry!

Check out all the fares and airfare predictions on our app – Unfare. For airfare deal alerts, which will inform you as soon as the Unfare app spots a flight deal in the market, do create a free account on the Unfare app. More on that in our Facebook and Twitter page.

Indigo offers flights starting Rs. 1011 in India | Flight deals | August 2017

Our Unfare app has spotted new flight deals! Indigo offers a sale of air tickets at discount starting Rs. 1011 in India. The discounts can be availed between 2nd August 2017 till 6th August 2017.

Is it really on sale?

Out of the 417 domestic routes of Indigo that we track, we could find fares dropping on 127 routes when compared to yesterday’s prices. The Raipur – Bangalore sector has seen more than 50% drop in fares compared to yesterday. Sectors like Varanasi – Bangalore, Jaipur – Chennai, etc. have seen more than a 40% drop in prices today. So yes, it is indeed a fare sale.

 Did we predict this offer?

As you are aware, we have a fare sale barometer for each airline. Based on that, yesterday’s UnfareScore for Indigo was 51.7 (anything above 50 has a chance of fare sale). So yes, this was in line with our predictions. The index today for Indigo is 36.8. So hurry! (check all airline scores here).

Compared to earlier Indigo offers

Indigo came up with a fare sale around 26 days ago on 7th July 2017. Compared to the earlier offer, this sale has 3.4 % higher prices. This is the 7th discount sale for Indigo in the last 3 months. Earlier sales happened on 8th May 2017, 7th July 2017, 29th June 2017, 24th May 2017, 20th June 2017, 11th June 2017.

Where are the best flight deals?

Given that the discounts are available only on a limited number of seats, it is important that you act fast and book your tickets at the earliest. In order to help you easily find out the dates on which these low fares are available, we will be adding a tool soon to our app – Unfare. We can see that the low fares starting from Rs. 1011 are available in the sectors like Bagdogra – Guwahati, Jammu – Srinagar, etc. So hurry!

Check out all the fares and airfare predictions on our app – Unfare. For airfare deal alerts, which will inform you as soon as the Unfare app spots a flight deal in the market, do create a free account on the Unfare app. More on that in our Facebook and Twitter page.

Air Asia offers flights starting Rs. 1453 in India | Flight deals | July 2017

Our Unfare app has spotted new flight deals! Air Asia offers a sale of air tickets at discount starting Rs. 1453 in India. The discounts can be availed starting 17th July 2017.

Is it really on sale?

Out of the 60 domestic routes of Air Asia that we track, we could find fares dropping on 38 routes when compared to yesterday’s prices. The Kolkata – Ranchi sector has seen more than 40% drop in fares compared to yesterday. Sectors like Ranchi – Kolkata, Bangalore – Kochi, Kochi – Bangalore, etc. have seen more than a 30% drop in prices today. So yes, it is indeed a fare sale.

 Did we predict this offer?

As you are aware, we have a fare sale barometer for each airline. Based on that, yesterday’s UnfareScore for Air Asia was 63.3 (anything above 50 has a chance of fare sale). So yes, this was in line with our predictions. The index today for Air Asia is 33.2. So hurry! (check all airline scores here).

Compared to earlier Air Asia offers

Air Asia came up with a fare sale around 21 days ago on 26th June 2017. Compared to the earlier offer, this sale has 0.5 % lower prices. This is the 3rd discount sale for Air Asia in the last 3 months. Earlier sales happened on 26th June 2017, 24th April 2017.

Where are the best flight deals?

Given that the discounts are available only on a limited number of seats, it is important that you act fast and book your tickets at the earliest. In order to help you easily find out the dates on which these low fares are available, we will be adding a tool soon to our app – Unfare. We can see that the low fares starting from Rs. 1453 are available in the sectors like Bagdogra – Kolkata, Bangalore – Kochi, Bangalore – Goa, Bangalore – Hyderabad, Kolkata – Bhubaneswar, Kolkata – Ranchi, etc. So hurry!

Check out all the fares and airfare predictions on our app – Unfare. For airfare deal alerts, which will inform you as soon as the Unfare app spots a flight deal in the market, do create a free account on the Unfare app. More on that in our Facebook and Twitter page.