Airlines know business travelers are willing to pay more for their tickets, while leisure travelers are the most price sensitive. To help leisure travelers get the best ticket values, airlines add heavy restrictions onto discount fares.
Understanding the typical purchasing habits of business travelers helps leisure travelers avoid full fares.
Leading on from our last point, business travelers typically book at last minute. This is why it’s so hard finding cheap flights the closer the flight gets.
Business travelers fly most on Mondays and Fridays. Sometimes they leave on Sundays, but typically they travel on Mondays. However, leisure travelers fly most on Sundays, which is why it’s the busiest day. Business travelers want to be back before the weekend, so fly home on Thursdays and Fridays.
When you understand these travel patterns it’s not surprising Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are the cheapest days to fly.
Not specific to business travelers, but nobody likes to fly early mornings or late nights. Therefore, finding cheap flights for off-peak hours is easiest.
Also, business travelers usually only spend a few days and rarely stay the weekend at their destination. Airlines add a requirement for a weekend stay or a minimum number of nights at the destination to get the discount fare. This is very common on international flights and one of the reasons round trips are often cheaper.
Business travelers need flexibility. They will often book one-way fares or tickets with no change fees. Non-flexible tickets are almost always cheaper.