We often think booking flights in advance is better than booking last minute flights. Is that true? Are there any advantages of booking flights last minute?
Undoubtedly, there are some advantages of booking flights in advance. Among these, one is having enough time to get prepared and, more in particular, to obtain a VISA when travelling to those countries requiring a VISA (and some of them take a while in order to issue one).
Another advantage is being able to secure your seat of choice. Finally, you might be able to get cheap prices when buying in advance, although that’s not always the case since last minute flights can be also cheap, and sometimes, even cheaper.
Nonetheless, there are certainly also some advantages of booking flights last minute. In this post we will look at five potential advantages of booking last minute flights.
1. Less cancellations of quasi-empty flights
One of the advantages of booking last minute flights is that there are fewer chances that the flight you booked may be cancelled sparing you the hassle and disappointment, sometimes a real nightmare, of flight cancellations.
Each year, hundreds of flights are cancelled for a number of reasons, a major one being low passenger numbers, which is when the planes are not full enough.
When the Passenger Load Factor of a certain flight is very low, meaning that the aircraft is almost empty, most airlines decide to cancel that flight as operating it instead would mean suffering a loss.
Flight cancellations for extremely low load factor generally occur within the very last weeks before scheduled departure, when airlines realize that a certain flight is not going to fill up anymore in the few weeks left.
When such disruption occurs, you, as a passenger, will suffer the fallout in most cases. You may either be placed on standby for another flight, and if able to secure a seat there’s the chance of being re-routed or, in the worst case, you won’t be able to fly at all.
On the contrary, if you book a last minute flight, one leaving in days or, even better, hours, you are almost certain to take off without suffering any of cancellation due to low load factor.
2. Lower chances to suffer consequences of airlines’ busts.
A second advantage of booking last minute flights is higher chances that the airline you booked your flight with will still be in operation.
Airlines go bust more frequently than you might think. In 2017, Monarch airlines went into administration recording the biggest airline collapse in the UK up to that time and displacing over 100,000 passengers. And in 2019 alone, several other big names followed suit including Thomas Cook, FlyBMI, Jet Airways, Wow Air, and Adria Airways to name a few.
As a result of airline bankruptcy, you, as a passengers, are left spent with a loss of money and, even when ATOL protected, the working out of claims are usually a long and tedious process.
Conversely, also in this case, with last minute flights you can be confident that the airline you choose is fully operable with no potential looming threats in the short term.
3. Unpredictability of health and other conditions.
Sometimes the threat of booking too much in advance does not come from the airline side, but from your side. If you book your flight long in advance you might not be able to fly when the time finally comes because of your circumstances.
So many unpredictable events might occur that prevent you to fly, including, unfortunately, your health conditions or those of some of your close ones.
Not only health issues though. Many times couples book a flight months in advance, but they break up before then. How do I know? Well, it happened to me, unfortunately.
When booking last minute flights though, the chances of the above mentioned events are all drastically reduced.
4. Choosing favourable weather conditions
Another advantage of booking a last minute flight, and this applies especially for short trips like weekend getaways, is the chance to book only when weather conditions are favourable.
No one can know for sure what the weather conditions are likely to be when booking in advance. However, for short trips, one can monitor the weather over the next few days and decide to fly to your destination only if the forecast reads ‘sunny’.
Or, even better, in case you don’t have a destination in mind, you can choose that destination where the weather will be good.
That could be, for example, an excellent strategy to visit a beautiful land such as Scotland, where unfortunately it is more rainy than not. If you check often the weather forecasts there and you are ready to fly within days, or even better, hours, then you’ll probably be able to enjoy the Highlands with full blown sun. And it doesn’t happen very frequently!
5. Spontaneity is more fun
Finally, another advantage of booking a last minute flight is that spontaneity can generate excitement and make the trip more worthwhile.
There is some truth to the adage ‘too much of a good thing may not necessarily be as good.’ So too, too much planning is never too good. The best moments in life sometimes turn out to be generally those unplanned and often the best things happen unexpectedly.
Planning, and even more, over-planning, kills magic and can sometimes take the fun out of a trip but spontaneity, like booking a last minute flight, can make for excitement. I once heard someone saying that the best adventure is in not planning. I definitely agree.
So, now that Christmas is gone, I hope you’ll think it twice before rushing into booking your next summer holiday. Instead, I would rather make up my mind and jump on the next last minute flight!