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!

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.

Flight booking Advisory: Airfares entering a period of higher prices. Avoid booking now!

The Unfare algorithm has spotted a trend of airfare hikes across multiple routes in India and hence we are issuing this flight booking advisory. Across airlines, the airfares are entering a period of high prices. Given that we have seen quite a lot of discount sale in the last couple of months, we expect all airlines to gradually raise prices. If you have more than 45 days for your flight, we recommend that you avoid booking during this period.

Why does this happen?

Airlines are here to make profit and hence a period of lower fares (like we saw last month) will be followed by a period of higher fares so as to make up for the lost revenue during the discount period. Hence this is a regular cycle that we are aware of. The previous such period happened last week but ended quickly because of the SpiceJet offer.

How long would be this period?

While we can’t put a definitive time period to it, if all the airlines cooperate with each other, it could last even 3-4 weeks. If even one airline breaks away from the rest and starts a discount sale, others will follow and this high fare period ends.

Does it involve all airlines?

At the moment we see all airlines in a period of high fares. Check our UnfareScore page for more details.

Does it involve all routes?

Not really. There are exceptions. To find out, search for your domestic route in our app. And look under the “Airline tips” section (screenshot below shows Delhi – Mumbai route).

How do I know about any change in flight booking advisory?

As soon as we spot an airfare offer, we will send the email alerts on the offer to all our users. Do sign-up for a free account to receive these email alerts.

Flight booking Advisory: Airfares entering a period of higher prices. Avoid booking now!

The Unfare algorithm has spotted a trend of airfare hikes across multiple routes in India and hence we are issuing this flight booking advisory. Across airlines, the airfares are entering a period of high prices. Given that we have seen quite a lot of discount sale in the last couple of months, we expect all airlines to gradually raise prices. If you have more than 45 days for your flight, we recommend that you avoid booking during this period.

Why does this happen?

Airlines are here to make profit and hence a period of lower fares (like we saw last month) will be followed by a period of higher fares so as to make up for the lost revenue during the discount period. Hence this is a regular cycle that we are aware of. The previous such period happened in mid-November last year.

How long would be this period?

While we can’t put a definitive time period to it, if all the airlines cooperate with each other, it could last 3-4 weeks. If even one airline breaks away from the rest and starts a discount sale, others will follow and this high fare period ends.

Does it involve all airlines?

At the moment we see only AirIndia with a lower UnfareScore at 41.8. All the other airlines are in a period of high fares. Check our UnfareScore page for more details.

Does it involve all routes?

Not really. There are exceptions. To find out, search for your domestic route in our app. And look under the “Airline tips” section (screenshot below shows Mumbai – Bhubaneswar route).
Unfare tips

How do I know about any change in flight booking advisory?

As soon as we spot an airfare offer, we will send the email alerts on the offer to all our users. Do sign-up for a free account to receive these email alerts.

UPDATE: Read more about how this ended here: SpiceJet Offer