ARC Reports Lowest-Priced Air Tickets are Purchased Six Weeks Before Flight

Data Reveals Savings of as Much as 5.8 Percent Below Average Fares

Jan 17, 2012, 10:15 ET from ARC

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ARC announced today that based on research into the purchase price of airline tickets in 2011, airline passengers acquired the least expensive airfares six weeks in advance of their flights. At that point during any given 120-day advance purchase period throughout 2011, flyers paid 5.8 percent below the year's average fare of $358.30. ARC determined this by examining close to $80 billion worth of ticket sales, spread across almost 144 million transactions, for flights with a U.S. origin and destination*.

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"Many people have long thought that the further out from your flight that you buy an airline ticket, the less expensive it will be. Our data indicates that this isn't necessarily true," said Chuck Thackston, managing director of data and analytics at ARC. "Although low fares are available over the 120-day cycles in 2011 that we analyzed, the vast majority of tickets costing below the average fare were purchased about six weeks before the flight date.

"We're not advising people to purchase tickets only at this time during the cycle as there is no guarantee they will receive the lowest price of the year; it is just what the data indicates and we have seen this pattern over the last four years."

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ARC's Data and Analytics Division provides data, and analytical services for customers ranging from airlines and travel organizations, to the financial industry. The company's wealth of information about airline ticket transactions created in the U.S. is a valuable resource to make strategic business judgments.

About ARC:

As the financial backbone of the U.S. travel industry, ARC enables commerce among travel agencies, airlines, and travel suppliers, and offers them secure and accurate financial settlement services. More than 14,000 travel agencies and 190 airlines use the company's transaction settlement services that, in 2011, totaled more than $82 billion in value. ARC also supplies transactional data to organizations, facilitating better business decisions through fact-based market analyses. Established in 1984, ARC is headquartered in Arlington, Va. For more information, visit

Notes for Editors: *Ticket Sales

  • Based on $82 billion worth of ticket sales across 144 million transactions from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011, by U.S. retail and corporate travel agencies, online travel agencies, and satellite ticket printing offices.
  • Flight origin and destination within the United States.
  • Does not include sales of tickets purchased directly from airlines.
  • Total sales are equal to the total amount paid for a ticket, which includes taxes and fees.

©2012 Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC). All rights reserved.