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General Travel

Best time/day to buy airfare

How long should I wait (months, weeks) before my trip to buy airfare. Also people say there are best times and days to buy to get the best deal, any advice? Thanks!

12 Answers

top answer by

I fly between 50 and 100 times per year and book flights almost every week and I do not see any big differences between the days that I book and the prices. I am quite sure this is a thing of the past. If you really want to have big savings, then sign up for airline newsletters and book when they have a sale, cause this is where you can often get some very heavy discounts.

3 thanks

answered by
ronald from Roanoke

Do you want to get the best price for airline tickets. Airlines usually offer these deals when the tickets are first announced. The other airlines quickly try to match these prices too. The airlines must release new airfares to a central clearinghouse called AIRLINE TARIFF PUBLISHING COMPANY at certain hours.On weekends the best time to look for new fares are just after 2 pm 4:30 pm and midnight. TRAVEL TIP- tickets that were reserved on previous flights but never paid for usually appear after midnight, so this is the best time when the selection is the greatest. On weekends, fares are updated just once a day around 5 pm.

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answered by
Fritzi from San Francisco

My approach is I begin to watch the fare on several sites like farecompare, tripadvisor, Travelocity.  I get a feel for the range, for example, the fare might range from $200 to $400.  As soon as I know the bottom, I grab it when I see it.  I might watch a fare for a few months until I see a really great deal.  For example, RT air San Francisco to Vietnam range from $500 to $1200.  That is a huge spread, so why not travel when they are lower?  But you can only do this as a leisure traveler.

There isn't much of a range flying around California, but a huge spread if you want to go to Europe or Asia.  It pays to be flexible and take advantage of what the airline is promoting. 

Air fare is one of the great bargains of our age.  For fifty years you have been able to fly coast to coast in the USA for about $300.  That is amazing when you consider how inflation is affected almost everything else.  I say we who love to travel are very lucky.

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answered by
Hazel from Port St. Lucie

After midnight. That is when cancellations are turned in. Wednesday night is the best.

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answered by
Sean from Hudson Valley

The general consensus seems to be that the best time frame to book a flight is six weeks prior to travel.  Still, there are those who claim that you can score a great fare at the last minute (but I don't buy it).  It seems there should be lead time in booking a ticket, but what that time should be isn't clear.

In a recent article, Melisse Hinkle, an editor at, noted that airlines readjust their pricing overnight, and that early morning, any day, might be the best time for deals.

He also noted that airlines post sales on Tuesdays that last up to 48 hours.

However, the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization claims there isn't much evidence to back up that.  They go on to say evidence from the U.S. Airline Industry shows weekends may be the best time to buy airline tickets.

So the bottom line seems to be, it depends on who you listen to.

There is one certainty, however.  There are many web sites and phone apps that will watch airfares for when they drop, and alert you to that.

Amongst them are,

  • Airfarewatchdog
  • kayak
  • farecompare
  • yapta, and
  • tripadvisor flights

These are the one I know about.  Which means that there are probably hundreds more I don't know about. 

The other thing to think about is, just how much are you going to save?  $20?  $30?   Is it worth the effort?  I could see all the nit picking if you were going to save hundreds, but more and more the savings seem marginal. 

You can experiment on your own.  Setting your Google chrome to incognito will allow you to search various web sites without being tagged with cookies.  This will allow you to search airfares over time with a more accurate picture of their fluctuations, and the degree of those fluctuations.

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answered by
Alexandra from Brussels, Belgium

You should use  skyscanner ! It's great, sends you a notification when the price are going up and when they are going down. Flying on a Monday or Wednesday is always cheaper and early and late flight too.

Apparently it's 5 and a half month to 1 and half month before. And max 2 months for summer holidays. I read that the best time to buy your flights is Tuesday in the afternoon or Wednesday around noon ( that's what internet says - I use Skyscanner and never wait too long ) 

Hope it helped a little ! 

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answered by
Ali from Vancouver

I read an article somewhere that 54 days before a domestic flight and 123 days before an international flight are ideal - if you google those numbers you might find the article. The exception is Christmas, when you should book as soon as possible. 

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answered by
Heather from Memphis
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answered by
Vince from Sarasota

On tuesdays, any time. Within the US at around 54 days before departure.

Longer, even 6 months for overseas.

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answered by
Kristi from Fresno

It all depends where you are flying - domestic within the US about 7-8 weeks prior is the best time & price.  

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answered by
Hazel from Port St. Lucie

After midnight. That is when cancellations are turned in. Wednesday night is the best.

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answered first by
Marie from Paris

3am on a Wednesday or if you dont want to stay up for this during the day is ok.

1 thanks

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