Q. We are four adults and one child going to Corfu in August 2015. The flights were released in October, and the quote for the five of us has gone up by £500 already. Should we bite the bullet and buy now, or could they go down nearer the departure date? Gordon Carless, Orpington
A. Airlines like to give the impression that early bookers get the best deal, and that fares are only ever likely to go up as departure day approaches. That is not always the case. Airlines monitor ticket sales for flights to see if they are "on trend", i.e. that the expected proportion of seats has been sold for the time that remains before departure.
The ideal booking profile is for almost everything to be sold with a few days to go before departure, leaving a handful of seats for sale at high prices to people who are desperate to travel.
Generally, the closer to take-off, the higher the fare, but this is not always true; if a flight is selling slower than expected, fares may be cut to get back on trend.
Airlines usually have no problem selling flights to Mediterranean destinations in August, the height of the summer holidays. For such trips, it is almost always most advantageous to buy the day the flights go on sale – having pre-registered with the airline to get an email alert. The surge in demand has the predicted effect of pushing prices up. Fares will likely increase steadily between now and August.
All kinds of events can intervene, however, such as airlines increasing flights to Corfu because of the heavy demand; if that happens, the short-term effect is to lower fares because of the extra supply. But in your position, it would probably be best to buy now – taking out travel insurance at the same time as protection in case anything goes awry in the next nine months.Reuse content