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This is a consolidation of notes over the last 20 years.
2018 | 2010
Recent research from Expedia and Airlines Reporting Corporation shows Sunday as the day when airfare discounts are most likely. Their joint report, New Heights for Air Travel, studied 2016 global air-travel data to predict the best days to buy tickets.
Tuesday is cherished by some as a day to get good airfare deals, although this day isn't really the best any more, according to airline data research noted in the Expedia study.
Friday as the worst day to book flights
Source: What Is the Best Day to Make Airline Reservations? | USA Today
These are four of the biggest deal zones of the year.
Source: Cheapest Time of Year to Fly | Dead Zones | Travel News
- Early December: Typically the first two weeks of December, sandwiched between the big peak travel periods of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, and Christmas/New Year's
- January: Most of the month, once the New Year's travel rush subsides generally around Jan. 7
- Spring: Not as cheap as January; does not apply to traditional Spring Break weeks in March/April
- Fall: This deal zone usually gets underway in late August; there is usually another price drop in October
For general year-round travel, the lowest average domestic airfares are usually found 2-4 weeks prior to departure while international airfares are at their lowest point 2-3 months out. Here are some additional travel secrets:
Source: The Best Time to Book Your Travel is... - KAYAK Travel Hacker - Blog
- Don't book too early. The average domestic fare found six months before a departure date was 2% higher than the fare found 2-4 weeks out.
- Travelers planning a week-long domestic trip should depart on a Saturday and return on Monday to score the cheapest airfare (roughly 16% lower than average).
- For international week-long trips, we recommend departing on a Tuesday and returning on Wednesday to save some $$. These flights were 21% lower than the average.
Airfare History Charts for flights from New York to San Francisco| FareDetective.com
Airfare History Charts for flights from Newark to Sacramento | FareDetective.com
Tips for getting better fares:
- When to book:
- Always buy your tickets at least 14-days in advance of your departure.
- According to PeterGreenberg.com, Wednesday is the best day to get a deal on an airline ticket. Do not book over the weekend.
Wednesdays is when arilines typically release internet-only fares.
- Days to travel:
- SmarterTravel.com says, "Fridays and Sundays are the busiest days of the week to travel, which also makes them the most expensive.
Midweek flights Monday through Thursday tend to be cheaper, and red-eye or midday flights can also cost less.
- TravelTips.FareCompare.com/ says,
- Cheapest Travel Days are usually: Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday
But check other days, sometimes Monday may be cheaper.
- Most Expensive Travel Days: Monday and Friday
- Cheapest Time of Day to Travel: Evening (except on Friday and Sunday)
- The difference between weekdays and Sunday seemed to be more for major cities (e.g. San Francisco) than smaller cities (e.g. Sacramento) see below.
- Most of the Best Fares sites allow you to check multiple dates with a button on the search page. Travelocity seems to do this best.
- Holidays: Thanksgiving, New years, the Sunday before memorial day or labor day are also usually cheaper.
- The rule about staying over Saturday doesn't apply any more.
These will give you a history of how prices tend to change as you get closer to your travel date.
Note: Kayak and Bing gave me different answers for a trip 10 weeks out. Bing said to wait, Kayak said to buy.
Kayak gives you a graph
Bing: Select flights at Bing Travel.
At the top of the list they will an indicator with something like:
Tip: Wait.Fares dropping $50+.80%+ Confidence.
Tip: Buy.Fares rising or steady.68% Confidence.
You may have to wait a 10 seconds for this to show up.
Predictors are only available for economy round trips within the next 6 mos.
When I tried this in the spring of 2013 I got.
4 weeks out - Buy fares rising; 7 weeks out - Buy rising or steady; 2 mos out - wait
I did some sample fare checks for Newark, NJ to Sacramento, CA:
- Wed to Wed in 2011 was the same as Sun to Sun on both United and Contintal.
- Wed to Wed in Sept. 2010 was $50 less than Sun to Sun on United and the same on Continental.
- United and Continental were lowest on Orbitz and Kayak, Continental showed a lower pice on their web page but when you read the fine print they did not include about $40 in fees. Kayak and United web sites included the fees.
- Newark to San Francisco was about $85 less with United on Wed to Wed than on Sun to Sun.
It was less than Sacramento on Wed. and more than Sacramento on Sunday.
How to Get Cheap Airfare - Last Minute Cheap Airfare - Cheap Airfare Robots at GaltTech.com
Travel Tips/Top 10 Lists " The 5 Rules to Finding Cheap Airfare Sales at traveltips.farecompare.com
Cheap Airfares: Michael Bluejay's how-to airfare guide
Return to Travel.
last updated 12 Aug 2010