Well, there you can find thousands of articles saying booking in advance will always help you get the cheapest flights. I totally agree. What I really wouldn't mind doing is writing another article that tells you the same thing.
Instead, I just wanted to write short notes for the curious as to why this is the strategy airlines use? Why do they benefit from it?
There are several reasons that do this. To understand this, we need to understand what would happen if that strategy was not in place. Of course, we humans like to do things last-minute, and a huge amount of people will come to book a last-day flight. Why book early? Imagine having to cancel for some reason! Of course, we are not stupid and we would do it until the last thing before leaving.
You could tell me that some people will book early for fear of running out of space. It might happen, but if we look at planes today, you will realize that there are always some places, except on important holiday dates. That would be another article, but here's one of the main reasons why discounted tickets!
Why aren't airlines interested in last minute bookings? Well, they have to plan ahead for a number of reasons. Knowing the occupancy of the aircraft will allow them to analyze the situation and change prices accordingly, they need to plan the food they will need for this flight as well as the space needed for luggage. If they knew the plane would be nearly empty, it was time to change and select a smaller plane to travel.
At the same time, the people who usually book at the last minute are the ones who travel for business reasons. As said in another article, business travelers are expected to pay more because their companies are the ones paying the plane ticket, so the ticket prices are planned according to their needs. What I mean is that a high ticket price won't scare any business, but it could scare a lot of tourists. Let tourists book before because they have lowered their budget, and then business travelers will have no trouble bringing in higher prices.
Short and simple. These are the reasons airlines have better prices for busy first seats.