Load factors and strategy

Discussion in 'Air Canada | Aeroplan' started by YULtide, Nov 14, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    As previously mentioned in these forums, I will be travelling to HKG in ten days. I opted to fly on Air China after noting that the price on AC for a Flex fare seemed excessive. The prices have come down a bit, though still well above what I paid to book Air China a couple of months ago.

    Out of interest, I just had a look at the Air Canada flights for the same travel days, and noticed that there are still 129 Y seats left on 23 November YVR-HKG and 153 seats on HKG-YVR on 7 December (assuming I'm counting correctly).

    So it seems that the load factors are rather less than the stellar levels so often noted here (bearing in mind that I'm looking at only two flights out of thousands).

    When I booked the flights, CA saved me $2700 (for two) and now the difference between what I paid and what AC would charge is down to a mere $1300 (for two). Will the differential decline to zero or less in the next 8 or 9 days?

    In terms of my own booking strategy, am I doing it wrong? Should I be looking on other dates to book the flights? Do people wake up on Thursday and decide to go to HKG on Saturday? Am I just too anal booking flights around the time I inform my employer that I intend to take vacation a few months out? Should I be booking a vacation and then waiting to book the flights until the week or even the day before I want to leave?
     
  2. The Lev
    Original Member

    The Lev Silver Member

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    If I know my travel plans months ahead of time I will usually watch the fares for a while and play chicken with the airline to see who blinks first. Usually they do.

    The strategy has become much more problematic with the spread of Tango fares globally because now when they blink it is often only Tango that goes down.
     
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  3. tomh009
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    tomh009 Gold Member

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    Are you counting unassigned seats on the seat map, or do you have access to actual unsold seats inventory? The two are not the same ...

    I book ahead, but probably not as far ahead as you do. There are online tools available to watch the available fares, that might be the best strategy to optimize the costs.
     
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  4. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    Unassigned seats. Are you suggesting that there are significant numbers sold but not yet assigned? That being the case, there would be quite a discrepancy.

    I book roughly when I know I am going to a destination. I might wait a bit to see if fares come down, but at some point I need to commit. Maybe I'm committing too soon.
     
  5. The Lev
    Original Member

    The Lev Silver Member

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    How far out do you commit? If more than a month (barring good seat sale and assuming not peak demand period like Xmas) you are probably being too timid.

    Empty seats on a seat map are a reasonable (but imperfect) gauge of availability. If you see the seats filing up, you need to book; but if the seatmap looks wide open, you are generally OK to wait until 2-3 weeks before departure to see if a good fare pops up. There are a number of travel sites that will "monitor" fares and tell you when the price goes down.
     
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  6. tomh009
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    tomh009 Gold Member

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    There are definitely seats sold but not assigned. How many, I don't know (need AC's internal data for that). But 129 unassigned seats doesn't mean 129 unsold seats.
     
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