There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about when the best time is to book flight tickets. Some sources swear by a certain amount of time in advance or a specific day of the week, while others maintain that it doesn’t really matter. It’s true there are many variables that can cause costs to fluctuate, but in general, these factors tend to follow patterns that are consistent over time. Read on to learn more.
Days of the Week
Contrary to popular belief, airlines don’t regularly lower their fares on any particular day of the week—at least, not anymore. Some companies were known to offer mid-week specials when online booking first became available, but today, this advice is no longer relevant. What can make a difference is the day of that week that you choose to fly on. For example, mid-week and red-eye flights are usually cheaper than those on weekends or more convenient hours.
When to Book
Most airlines publish their schedules about a year in advance, but when it comes to purchasing tickets, earlier is not necessarily better. Prices typically start high and decrease gradually in the following months, reaching their lowest point two to five months before departure. Last-minute bookings less than four weeks out are on average $200 more expensive, not to mention options are likely to be much more limited.
Like any major purchase, a little bit of research and proper planning can go a long way in terms of finding a better deal. Rather than book the first flight you find, use third-party sites like Google Flights or Skyscanner to compare fares, and set up price alerts for the options that are most relevant. When you find a good deal, act fast so you don’t miss out.