It was neither a fluke deal nor a rare discounted offer that got Ghatkopar resident Alkesh Gohel an economy class air ticket from Mumbai to Srinagar for Rs 6,000, less than one-third the normal cost.
Last month, the gynaecologist booked tickets for his travel in May 2014. “Long-term advance bookings have enabled us to do at least three vacations a year,” said Gohel, 39.
According to travel portal Cleartrip, of the 24,075 domestic air tickets sold by them in July, 3,142 were booked for travel 61 to 90 days from the date of booking. And 3, 446 bookings were made more than 91 days in advance.
“Data shows that 30% travellers plan their travel at least two months in advance to get cheap fares,” said Noel Swain, executive president, suppliers relations, Cleartrip.
The portal also noted that last-minute bookings this July fell by 23.17% as compared to last year . Also, tickets bought up to 15 days from the journey dropped marginally from 5,105 to 4,528 (11.03%).
“We see huge spike, about 25-30%, in bookings when airlines offer advance purchase fares,” said Vikram Malhi, general manager, South and South East Asia, Expedia.
All major domestic airlines slash rates by 30% on advance bookings. Air India introduced a 60-day advance fare offer, followed by Jet Airways and budget airline Indigo.
“Approximately 40% of business travellers are booking trips up to 13 days in advance to drive cost benefits,” said Sandeep Shastri, VP and general manager, global business travel, American Express India.