The age old question: is there a good time to buy airfare? Like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I secretly hope that there is a cheaper time or day to buy airfare. Here’s a roundup of what some experts are saying is the best time to save money on airfare. (Oh, and don’t forget to read this post about 11 ways you can save money on your next flight).
Book early, but not too early
Most experts agree that there is a sweet spot where airlines either lower or increase fares based on demand. Don’t wait until the last minute – if you see a good deal, you should definitely book it. NomadicMatt says that the “best booking window is 6–8 weeks before your flight, or around three months before if you are going to your destination during peak season”.
Can you be more specific on the sweet spot?
In this Huffingtonpost article by Cliff Hsia, the sweet spot for the best pricing on airfares is somewhere around 45 to 90 days before departure. Online search engine CheapAir agrees. They crunched some serious numbers…airfare costs for over 5 million flights and according to them, buying a domestic ticket 47 days before you leave is when you'll score the cheapest fare. Click To Tweet
The Golden Time: Tuesday at 3 p.m.
In this NY Times article, Shivani Vora says that “The airline departments that create fare sales usually do so on Monday afternoons. These sales are then distributed to travel sites such as Expedia.com and also posted on the airline’s own site. Competing airlines see these sales the next morning and adjust their fares accordingly, and final sale pricing hits reservations systems at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.”
FareCompare.com did a study and, based on historical data and trends, they say also that Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. EST is the golden hour to score a cheap flight Click To Tweet That’s two experts…so it’s definitely worth a try! Don’t forget, most seat sales don’t last long, so don’t procrastinate!
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these tips and if they worked for you in the comments below!