The new study released by http://www.cheapair.com hit national news this week. It was interesting to see the price differences between 54 days and 14 days, the typical time consultants purchase their flights. I thought I would ask around to see if this could impact consultants and our clients.
I asked three different clients if they would be willing to allow consultants to book flights 54 days in advance, once a week. Every single manager came back with “no.” Even after I showed an average savings of $175 per ticket, there are bigger problems…billing. A new consultant would need to purchase 7 weeks of flights all at once when they started to get themselves 54 days ahead. Then the benefit would simply be that the consultant can purchase a ticket weekly, at the cheapest rate possible, until the end of their contract. No client is willing to pay an invoice for 7 weeks of flights up front. Even more interesting was that two of the clients stated that there was concerns of paying up front and then having the consultant resign, removed early from the contract, call in sick, or work remotely.
Clearly this information is intended for the casual flyer who can book flights almost two months in advance. I certainly tend to plan vacation months in advance. In terms of booking for your engagement, stick to the general rule of 2 – 4 weeks out. I always tell consultants that if their client agrees, buy there first 3 weeks of flights at once, then 2 more weeks after starting at the client. You’ll be 30 days out for each purchased flight, and should still be within a good window for finding a reasonable fare.