Here’s an important scoop that will save you money.

Analysts show that airline prices are lowest on Tuesday afternoon and highest on the weekends which assumes a highly competitive and substitutive market. The article speculates that the Monday-Friday work times of airline marketers means that new campaigns are established on Monday and then competitors respond, so that the natural sinusoidal discount-counterdiscount and counter-counterdiscount etc takes a day or two to bottom out. Price adjustments up are usually implemented at the end of the week (Thursday and Friday) to slow down the pace of aircraft seat purchases for the unsupervised weekend routine.

There are also historical treatments that made Mondays the day for new campaigns since the massive distribution network that used to be something called ‘travel agents’ needed time to discover, market and then capture consumer orders.

One might think that a winning strategy would be to change the pattern and attack on Friday when the competition is gone for the weekend. This would be attractive for an attack brand like VirginAmerica, which has only a few routes and needs to aggressively earn share in those markets. This will also tend to work in the short term and can be particularly attractive if the attacker is willing to make it a routine. On the downside, this may mean having marketing staff work weekends from time to time so that these seat selling campaigns can be properly managed.

However, in the long run, this won’t work because the competitors will adjust their timetables to initiate their own attacks or to set their pricing monitoring software to match or beat your price changes on the weekend. In the interval between short and long runs, it will tend to fill seats which is the name of the game.

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