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We all know that the best day of the week to buy a plane ticket is Tuesday…or maybe it’s Sunday. right?
The advice on when to book flights is full of common sense. The problem is that many of these are based on assumptions, outdated information, and good old self-fulfilling prophecies.
Putting all that aside, let’s take a look at data from two recent studies that reveal the best days of the week to buy flights and how far in advance you should book your flights.
What are the best days of the week to buy a ticket?
Historically, travelers have been advised to book flights on Tuesdays to get the best tickets. Ten years ago, airlines typically launched new sales on Tuesdays, and airlines were generally quick to match prices with each other. This could lead to cheap flights on Tuesday. That’s when an airline launches a new sale.
However, this advice no longer applies. Airlines don’t just announce sales on Tuesday, and airlines don’t always match their competitors’ sales. Well, our advice on the best days of the week to buy flights depends on what research you read.
According to a recent study by Expedia, the cheapest day to book flights is Sunday. Comparing Sunday and Friday flight prices, Expedia found travelers could save 5% on domestic flights and 15% on international flights. For the past four years, Sunday has been the best day of the week to book flights.
Another recent study by Google found that flights on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are on average 1.9% cheaper than flights on Saturday and Sunday. However, when Google released its findings, the conclusion was that ‘there is not much value in buying tickets on certain days of the week’.
And we agree with this advice. The best days of the week to buy a ticket are the days when flights are open for trading. And it’s definitely not done every day of the week.
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Best time to book international flights
According to a study conducted by Expedia, the data suggests that people want to book their international travel at least six months in advance. The study found that you can save an average of 10% by booking 6 months in advance instead of within 2 months.
Google’s flight pricing study analyzed two different types of international flights. For flights to Europe, the cheapest is after 129 days, but could be anywhere from 50 to 179 days before departure. Flights to Mexico and the Caribbean didn’t require much advance booking. Statistically, the best day to book a flight was 59 days before, but the lowest fares were found between 37 and 87 days before departure.
Another reason to book international flights in advance is to take advantage of discounts. Basic economy fares cannot be changed on most airlines. However, standard economy fares are now flexible on many US airlines.
That means you can lock in what looks like a decent deal well in advance of your flight. If the price goes down, you can change your flight and usually claim a voucher for the difference. Vouchers aren’t as good as cash, but you can use them to save out-of-pocket costs on future flights.
Best time to book domestic flights
Good news for procrastinators: research shows that people don’t want to book faraway flights to get the best deals. An Expedia study found the sweet spot to be 28-35 days before departure, while a Google study found that prices hit bottom 44 days before departure. However, both studies agree that you don’t want to wait until the last minute. Please make a reservation at least 21 days before departure.
There may never be a better day to buy a plane ticket
Be cheeky, but the best days to buy airline tickets are when prices are low. Think about it from the airline’s point of view. If everyone knew which day or date in the calendar was the cheapest, would you offer the best flight on that date? Or would you maximize your profit by charging a little more on that day? do you want?
Instead, airlines sell airfare to fill seats. Perhaps the route has just opened and the airline doesn’t want empty seats. When Norse Atlantic Airways launched flights, it turned out to sell flights to Europe for just $120 each way.
Or the airline may have priced the flight so high that there are many empty seats on the soon-to-be-departed flight. Better trust the airline to lower the price of the flight to fill the empty seats.
I understand how unsatisfactory this answer is. The good news: there are some real ways to actually save on flights. Now let’s talk about these tips.
REAL WAYS TO WIN THE CHEAPEST FLIGHTS
Now that the “best days to book flights” theory has been debunked, let’s talk about real ways you can save money when booking flights.
Book and rebook flexible flights
During the pandemic, most US airlines have eliminated change fees for standard economy tickets. This change finally opens the door to new ways to get the cheapest flights. Book early and rebook at a lower rate when prices drop.
Here’s the strategy: As soon as you know when to travel, start by booking flights. Choose a fare that you can freely change or cancel. Then track the price of that flight. If the fare goes down, change your flight with the airline and claim your flight voucher for the difference.
Capital One Travel Price Drop Protection
Eligible Capital One credit cardholders have access to powerful tools for finding cheap flights. Capital One Travel portal.
Capital One partners with flight data service Hopper to analyze billions of flight prices every day and predict the best time to buy a flight. When you search for flights, Capital One Travel provides recommendations on whether to book now or wait.
Capital One and Hopper are so confident in their model that if a Hopper-powered price prediction tool recommends booking now, travelers will receive a free price reduction guarantee. This service automatically refunds up to $50 if the price drops within a certain period of time after you book your flight.
Even better, cardholders of the Capital One Venture X Rewards credit card can earn up to $300 in annual travel statement credit and earn 5 miles for every dollar spent on flights booked with Capital One Travel.
Track reduced flight prices
Whether you’re not ready to buy a flight or just looking to cut prices, there are several free options for tracking flight prices. The two tools I use are the Google Flights price tracker and the Capital One Travel price monitor tool.
To use Google Flights, simply search for flights on Google Flights. At the top of the results, you’ll see two options for tracking prices. One option is to set up a flight fare tracker for that day’s flights only. Another option is to track flight prices for this route on any date if your travel dates are flexible.
If you are only interested in the price of a particular flight, select that flight from the results and[価格の追跡]Click the button to track the price for that flight only.
Google Flights regularly emails you updates about the flights and routes you’re tracking. These emails may prompt you to book a flight or rebook your flight at a lower price.
Alternatively, you can open the Flight Fare Tracking Dashboard to manually see how flight prices are changing over time.
Alternatively, eligible Capital One cardholders can use the ‘view this trip’ option in Capital One Travel to receive emails about price changes and when to book.
Apply for Flight Deal Service
If you’re flexible wherever you go, the previous advice doesn’t help much. Instead, we recommend subscribing to a flight ticket service that will notify you when cheap flights are available from your preferred departure airport. Some top flight deal subscription services include:
- Scott’s cheap flights.
- fair drop.
- Thrifty Traveler Premium.
- Dollar Flight Club.
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Research has been done and the results are ambiguous. You may save money by booking flights on Sundays. Or you might save a little by booking mid-week.
One thing is clear: getting a cheap flight is no longer about booking it on the “right” date. Instead, use tools and trackers to find the best flight fares. Once you’ve booked your flight, continue to check the price of your flight if you booked a fare with no change fees. That’s where you can really save on flights.