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

How to predict an airfare sale in India

All days are created equal. But some are more equal that others.

Have you noticed that booking a flight ticket on some days are better than others? Airlines come up with airfare sales at seemingly random intervals. But what if I told you that a great sale can be predicted?

Booking ahead may not always be the smartest option:

Let’s say, you have planned a trip and are to fly in about 3 months time. When you go to book your flight, how do you know you are getting the lowest fares? Even though you are searching for an advance purchase, the airline may be in a period of high fares before going into an airfare sale. You could actually lose out by booking ahead, only to find that a week later, the airline has declared an airfare sale!

Finding the better days to book your flight:

In order to determine how good or bad the airfare is for any given day, you need to know where the airfare stands against the scale of low airfares for that airline. I know, not an easy task to track so many airfares, is it?

Introducing UnfareScore:

UnfareScore is a dynamic index with a scale of 0-100. For any given airline, a score of below 50, signifies a good deal. Anything above 50, indicated that you should consider waiting for the airfare sale. Of course, this only applies when you have at least 45 days to your flight. Also, for specific airfare predictions, you can use the Unfare prediction tool.

UnfareScore is a free feature of Unfare that also provides details on how many days it has been since the last airfare sale, average number of days for an airfare sale, etc. Do check it out today!

UnfareScore

 

Under the hood: How does Unfare work?

Ever since the launch of the app – Unfare, I have been asked this question; how does it work? So to answer that, I decided to write a post about it.

Everyday morning, Unfare gets a price feed for all the routes and dates that is in scope and stores it into a database. It then automatically runs a few processes on this data which updates information like the “fair price”, price list of last 7 days, etc. It also updates the “training data” with the necessary predictor variables for the algorithm. Once all these processes are complete, it will then hand it over to the algorithm.

After completing a few sanity checks, the algorithm updates itself with the data from the flights that had taken off the previous day. This ensures that any mistake in its previous prediction is taken into account. Once updated, the algorithm runs in stages. Each stage taking in new training data compared to the previous set. This ensures that the algorithm improves its accuracy and at the same time is generic to predict on new data.

Once the algorithm is ready to predict, it is fed with that day’s flight and price information. The prediction along with the confidence levels are stored in the database which are then made available to anyone who uses the Unfare app.

The beauty of this workflow is that it is 100% automated and requires no manual intervention from my side. Even if the workflow is disrupted at any point, it will auto-restart from the same point of disruption.

A few technical details:

  • Cloud computing service: Amazon EC2
  • OS: Linux
  • Server: Apache
  • Database: MySQL
  • Statistical tool: R project

I will do another post on the logic or the hack that Unfare exploits in the coming days. Stay tuned!