The Best Times to Book Airfare

The Best Times to Book Airfare: A great blog about when you should book your flight.

Search for the best flight deals

Flying within the US? Find the best prices by looking at both domestic and international sites.

Don’t assume that one airline is always cheaper than another. Sometimes it pays to fly a more expensive airline because you’ll get more miles or a better seat on that plane.

If you have time to spare, try searching in a different browser (Google Chrome vs. Mozilla Firefox vs. Internet Explorer). Sometimes one will come up with different prices than another.

Flexibility is key! You can usually save money by flying out of an airport further away from your house (which might mean a bigger/more expensive airport) or by changing your dates/time of travel.

A great blog about when you should book your flight.

I recently heard that in order to get the cheapest flight you should book exactly 54 days before your trip. Is this true?

I’m a data scientist and I analyzed over 6 million flight prices for my blog. The research shows that for most flights, there is a best time to book that is usually more than one month before your trip. The exact best time varies by destination and airline and can range from 2 months to 7 weeks before departure. You can see the specific best time to book for each airline here:

Best Time To Book Airfare For Each Airline

In general, most domestic fares will be at their lowest price 3 weeks prior to departure and international fares are typically lowest 4 weeks prior to departure (the exception being some South American destinations which are lowest 5 – 6 weeks prior). These are just averages though; you’re more likely to get an amazing deal if you buy a ticket as soon as airlines release their low-priced tickets which usually happens on Tuesday evenings.

There is no single day of the week that’s always cheapest to fly on, but it’s often cheaper to fly during the middle of the week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays) than on weekends because airlines want planes to be full during those off-peak

How to Find Cheaper Airfare: There are lots of tips for sussing out the best dates to fly and travel sites with special deals, but this article from the Wall Street Journal gets down to specifics. It’s fun to compare the advice on this with that in the above-mentioned blog post.

Traveling Light: How To Pack a Suitcase: If you’re new to packing light, this article by a professional “light packer” is informative and inspirational.

Want An Empty Middle Seat? These Airlines Have Fewer Passengers: When looking for flights, you should always check the load factor—that is, how full the plane will be. The fewer people on board, the more space you have. Here’s a list of airlines that are more likely to fly with empty seats.

The Best Travel Sites For Finding Cheap Airfare: Frommer’s has a handy guide to finding cheap flights online, with lots of good suggestions for special travel sites many of us don’t know about. You can also read my own guide here at Lifehacker: How To Book Cheap Plane Tickets Without Getting Ripped Off

The Flight Deal: a blog about cheap flights.

In general, the data suggests booking flights between 60 and 90 days in advance. While it’s true that you can find cheaper deals outside of this window, the difference is usually not that great. While there are definitely a few exceptions, in most cases your best bet is just to buy within this two-month period.

CheapAir recently analyzed 921 million airfares and found that on average there was no savings at all by booking flights more than three weeks in advance. The sweet spot for capturing the lowest fares was somewhere between 21 and 121 days before takeoff. That’s a pretty big window when you think about it. But it turns out that CheapAir is not alone in these findings. Many other studies have found that the best time to buy airline tickets is somewhere between 60 and 90 days before departure.

The exception to this rule? If you can book way ahead of time (as in, five months or more), you will almost always save on airfare compared to buying last minute.

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