by Suzy Strutner
Prepare your mind and wallet, because you’re gonna want to buy a flight ASAP.
Airfare is predicted to drop sharply in August and continue through the fall, according to industry researchers at Hopper.com, hitting what some say will be the lowest ticket prices they’ve seen in nearly four years.
In other words, a trip that costs $629 if you leave tomorrow could cost just $206 if you depart at the end of August.
It’s normal for flight prices to drop during the August “Deal Zone,” a period starting around Aug. 20-25 when airlines often slash fares 15 to 20 percent, airfare expert Rick Seaney told USA Today. But this summer’s airfares have been cheaper than last year’s overall, as Hopper found, so 2015’s Deal Zone is looking especially hot.
For example, flying from NYC to Chicago will cost $267 roundtrip if you travel from Saturday, Aug. 1 through Wednesday, Aug. 5, according to Google Flights. But prices drop steadily throughout August, and if you take the trip from Aug. 22 through Aug. 26 — the same length of trip and the same days of the week — your roundtrip cost plummets to just $81.
The same is true for NYC to Los Angeles: The same four-day roundtrip that costs $629 if you leave on Aug. 1 will cost just $206 by Aug. 29.
Many of these low, late-August fares come from United Airlines, whose fare sale had travelers talking earlier this week. The sale ended July 30, but as shown, our Google Flights searches are still turning up solid United deals. Other airlines like JetBlue and Frontier launched flash sales recently with good deals, too.
(Keep in mind that the fares above were found during our specific sample search. Ticket prices often fluctuate during the day, and they could even change based on which web browser you use.)
Beyond sales, experts say falling fuel prices, lower demand and the Department of Justice’s investigation into airline collusion are bringing on epic August price drops that will continue through fall.
In fact, Hopper researchers predict that the average roundtrip ticket will cost $238 this fall, a 3.6 percent drop from last year and 8.1 percent lower than fall 2013.