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Cheapest Days to Fly: When is the Best Time to Buy Airline Tickets?


What are the cheapest days to fly? When is the best time to purchase flight tickets? It’s NOT Tuesday. The answer is more complicated in 2019 and beyond.

Years ago, I thought I was a traveler in the know—

If looking for the cheapest days to fly, look no further than Tuesday.

However, this doesn’t hold true anymore, if it ever really did then.

So, when is the best time to book a flight?

The Cheapest Days to Book a Flight Varies

Here’s the T: There really is no single day of the week cheaper to book a flight than the others.

While Tuesday may have been the cheapest day to book a flight in the past (Tuesday at midnight, to be more precise), this doesn’t hold true any longer. Today, airline booking sites use complicated algorithms provisioned by overzealous data scientists which constantly adjust price based on supply, demand, and dozens of other factors.

The Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) commissioned a 2019 study which, instead of a day, says that “three weeks ahead of a trip is the ‘sweet spot’ for fare savings.” However, a 2017 CheapAir.com study finds that 54 days before the flight date is the best time to fly, which is almost eight weeks before the trip.

That being said, the ARC study actually found a correlation weekends and cheap booking dates. According to their study, booking on a weekend, particularly on Sunday, often results in the lowest airfares. In their report, the best day to book a hotel room is on Friday, while the most expensive day to book a hotel room is Sunday.

When is the most expensive day to book a flight?

The same study shows that Thursdays and Fridays are the most expensive days to buy airline tickets.

cheapest days to fly and book a ticket
Taken by E. Molenaar via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

The Cheapest Days to Fly

Now, the best way to find the cheapest days to fly is to reverse insights from the previous studies.

Turns out, flying out on a Thursday or Friday is the two cheapest days to fly, at around 10% cheaper on average than other days. Leaving on a Sunday tends to be the most expensive day to fly.

One of the reasons for this may be the Saturday night stay, which makes both airline tickets and hotel rooms cheaper if they include a Saturday night. Starting your flight on a Sunday may not often include the Saturday night stay, but beginning on a Thursday or Friday often would.

How to Find the Best Time to Book a Flight

Instead of just checking Kayak or the Escape travel site on Tuesdays, use these tips to become a better-informed passenger:

  1. Start your flight search eight weeks out (56 days). Then, check it again at that 54-day average to see if it got any lower.
  2. Book flights on a weekend, specifically Sunday, for the best shot at the cheapest tickets.
  3. Avoid Thursdays and Fridays for booking flights.
  4. Include a Saturday night stay, if possible, and start your trip on a Thursday or Friday.
  5. Be flexible. Use the +/-3 day option when searching.
  6. Pull the trigger! Don’t wait longer than three weeks before your trip start to book a flight, as prices tend to skyrocket from there.

Well, that’s our quick take on the cheapest days to fly, as well as the cheapest days to book a flight ticket. Got any questions, comments, or disagreements? Let’s chat below in the comments, and thanks for reading!

For more ways to save on traveling and flights, check out our travel hacking guides, such as hacking dual flights, hidden city ticketing, hacking minor airports, and hacking flights by using different currencies.

Christian Eilers
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Christian Eilers
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