Airlines release seats on different days and at different times of the year, which means you may find a better deal booking flights for a specific time or month.
Keep in mind that there’s not just one best day to book cheap flights; it varies depending on your destination, where you’re coming from, the flight date of your trip, and your travel needs. But we’ll analyze what matters in finding the cheapest flight during the week.
The best day to book your flight is dependent on what type of traveler you are. If you’re looking for the cheapest fare, then Tuesday mornings are typically when airlines release their weekly fares.
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However, if you want to ensure that your seat will be available, then Friday evenings are the best time to book flights because most airlines stop selling seats after this point, in preparation for weekend departures.
You should book your flight on a Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning for the most flexibility. There are still plenty of seats available, but not so many that the fare is much more expensive than other days of the week.
Table of Contents
- How Airlines Release Tickets
- Calendar Considerations
- Other Factors Affecting Flight Prices
- When You Shouldn’t Book Flights
- If You’re Traveling in Season
- If You Can Fly at the Last Minute
- When You’re Traveling During a Peak Season
- If Your Travel Plans Are Flexible About Your Flight Dates
- When You’re Booking a Last-Minute Trip
- If You’re Flexible About Your Destination
- If You’re Flexible About When You Fly
- If You Can Be Flexible About What Days of the Week You Fly
- What is the Cheapest Day to Book a Flight?
- How Flight Pricing Works for International Travel
- Expert Opinion on Booking the Cheapest Flights Internationally
- Expert Q&A
- What Are the Most Important Factors in Determining Flight Prices?
- What Makes Flight Prices Cheap?
- What Are the Cheapest Cities to Fly to (Around The World)?
- What Is the Best Day to Buy Airline Tickets?
- Best Time of Day to Book Flights
- When is the Best Time to Buy Your Plane Ticket for Holiday Travel?
- Latest Tips for Finding the Best Flight Deal
- Use the Right Tools
- Always Compare Airfares
- Be Flexible With Dates and Times
- Travel With Friends or Family Members
- What to Do If You Find a Good Flight Deal
- What You Should Know Before Booking Flights
- Check Your Travel Insurance
- Know Your Rights as a Passenger
- Know-How Far in Advance You Can Book a Flight
- Do Flight Prices Get Cheaper Closer to the Date?
How Airlines Release Tickets
Airlines release seats on different days and at different times of the year, which means that you may find a better deal booking flights for a specific time or month.
Of course, there’s no “one best day to book flights” because it varies depending on your destination and travel needs. However, if you’re flexible, you can come out ahead by booking on certain days of the week or month.
To help you plan ahead, here are some factors to consider that impact the pricing of flights, so you can save money.
Airlines release the cheapest seats first and more expensive ones later, so when you book your flight matters.
Business travel dates, such as mid-week during a popular holiday period or around major trade shows, will cost more since they’re in demand. If you can be flexible with your travel dates, aim for a Tuesday or Wednesday flight when fares are the cheapest.
Several factors influence the cost of your flight. Airfare is generally less expensive during mid-week or late at night when demand for seats is lower.
Flying to smaller airports rather than large ones, using regional jets instead of bigger planes, and flying on small aircraft are other ways to save money. Of course, if you’re traveling with small children, traveling mid-week may not be the best option.
Airlines release cheap seats in bulk. The main factor that determines when you buy your ticket is how much an airline has to spend on flights; however, this isn’t the only way they’re forced to offer discounts.
Airlines also have to obey laws that protect their passengers from discrimination.
Other Factors Affecting Flight Prices
The day and time you book your flight does influence the price, but there are so many factors that affect price fluctuations. Finding a great deal is generally not a problem; it’s more about whether that itinerary fits your travel date and schedule.
Start searching for low-priced flights today to see how much you’ll pay.
When You Shouldn’t Book Flights
There are certain days of the week when you shouldn’t book your flight, especially if you’re seeking bargain fares. On Tuesday, fares are the cheapest, but you may also find good prices on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Fares will be at their highest on Fridays and Sundays and around major holidays because that’s when most passengers fly.
If You’re Traveling in Season
If you’re traveling during peak season and have a specific route in mind, that will greatly influence the ideal day to find cheap flights. That’s certainly the case for a well-known holiday domestic flight, but it’s also true for overseas travel.
October 22 through November 4 is the cheapest period to fly from Kansas City to London, according to Skyscanner, for example. However, if you departed on December 10 and returned on December 22, the fare can be North of $3,000.
If you’re going to a less popular destination, or it’s off-season, bookmark your target dates and monitor fares for several weeks. If prices drop below what you had anticipated spending, buy your tickets.
January, May, September, and November are the cheapest months to book international flights. Flights may be as much as 40% cheaper during these months.
However, if you plan to visit popular summer holiday destinations in Europe, the Caribbean, or Asia, book your flight for Monday through Thursday for lower prices. The second half of July is when tickets are cheapest if you depart between June and August.
If You Can Fly at the Last Minute
The season and your destination determine reservations and how much lead time you have. But if you can depart within a few weeks of when you intend to go, try for Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
That’s because airlines publish their calendars 12 weeks in advance before adding or withdrawing flights, depending on real demand.
If you’re booking for next summer, compare prices as the time gets closer, and you might find a fare much lower than expected.
When You’re Traveling During a Peak Season
In general, booking flights on a particular date works best. However, certain seasons, such as Christmas and summer vacations, have higher airfare costs. From December to February, the cheapest price for an international trip to Europe is around $1,000.
But the months of May through September are the best time to book a flight since you can get inexpensive trips for just under $1,000.
Going to a less popular destination? If you’re traveling on Mondays or Tuesdays, the best month of the year to book is April, according to FareCompare.com. The cheapest day to buy domestic tickets is December 19, while international flights are the cheapest on January 9.
If Your Travel Plans Are Flexible About Your Flight Dates
The best time to make travel arrangements is based on where you’ll be going, but if you can be flexible with your departure dates, aim to purchase your tickets on Tuesdays for significant savings.
If you’re looking for a cheap flight, being flexible about your dates wins for both domestic and international flights.
Airlines publish their schedules 11 weeks before they take effect, implying that they may add or remove flights as needed. You could get lucky and find a low price on such flights.
The best day to buy domestic spring break tickets is Saturday, while international vacationers should purchase their tickets on Tuesday.
If you’re traveling at the last minute from December through February, Fridays are the cheapest for both domestic and international travel.
The least expensive days to fly on a domestic journey are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, while flights on the weekend will cost somewhat more than weekday trips.
If you’re willing to depart earlier or later, fares are 30% cheaper on average if you can travel between Tuesday morning and early afternoon.
When You’re Booking a Last-Minute Trip
The cheapest day to book flights will depend on your destination, but you can find cheap prices any time of the week except for Fridays and Sundays.
That’s because airlines tend to release their schedules 6 weeks in advance, so they’ll add or remove flights based on actual demand. Mondays and Tuesdays are also great days to book a trip during the week.
If You’re Flexible About Your Destination
The best day to get better deals depends on where you’re going, but Tuesday is usually a good day. Airlines release their schedules 11 weeks in advance, which means they may add or delete flights depending on actual demand.
If you can depart earlier or later in the week, change a weekend trip for mid-week travel, or even swap out a domestic travel vacation for last-minute travel, you may find cheaper fares.
If You’re Flexible About When You Fly
Tuesday is the least expensive day to book international flights, and Wednesday afternoon is the optimum departure time.
The only exception: if you’re traveling from London to New York between December and February, try for a Saturday morning departure. Because airlines submit their itineraries 14 weeks ahead of time, this is when you’ll be able to discover cheap fares.
They’ll adjust or remove flights in response to real demand. If you can be flexible about when you depart, you’ll have a better chance of saving money on your trip.
If You Can Be Flexible About What Days of the Week You Fly
The cheapest day to book domestic flights is Tuesday, but if you can be flexible about what days of the week you travel, aim for a Wednesday afternoon departure.
The only exception is if you’re flying from London to New York between December and February. A Saturday morning departure is the best choice if you’re traveling between December and February. That’s because airlines provide their timetables 14 weeks in advance.
See Related: Ways to Book the Cheapest First Class Flights
What is the Cheapest Day to Book a Flight?
Keep in mind that there’s not just one right day to find the best ticket pricing for flights, as it varies depending on your destination, where you’re flying from, and your travel needs.
The best days of the week to book flights vary depending on where and when you want to fly.
Weekday prices depend on your travel goals and requirements. Monday is usually the cheapest day of the month, although this isn’t always the case for peak travel seasons or periods.
For example, the best days to fly to Cancun are Tuesday and Wednesday for the month of October, while the cheapest day of the week is Sunday because it’s a low travel season. The cheapest time of year to book flights is typically in January or February, while the most expensive time is in December.
If you’re looking to book flights for the Christmas/New Year holidays, your cheapest options can be Tuesday and Wednesday during the UK’s Fall season (November-December). However, the best day of the week would depend on your destination country’s peak booking period, which could be up to 6 months long.
If you’re looking for the best day to find flight deals, think about your destination. The cheapest days of the week vary by country and season.
However, if you plan a trip around Christmas or any other peak travel periods, it’s best to plan well in advance because prices will be higher than usual during these times.
Ultimately, the cheapest day to book a flight is when you find the cheapest airfare. Good flight deals don’t last long, so you want to grab what you can find. Keep in mind, most airlines also have a free 24-hour cancellation policy in place in case your spontaneity after finding a good deal proves to be the wrong thing.
Most airlines allow passengers to change or cancel their flights for free. However, this sometimes comes with the condition that you don’t buy the cheapest basic economy fares. In this case, you can cancel later, but you may only receive a voucher.
How Flight Pricing Works for International Travel
If you want to fly overseas, it can be on Sunday. Tuesday is a good day to sell more seats since, according to the rule of thumb, Tuesdays are typically the best days for flying abroad. The optimum time for traveling internationally might differ significantly from what you’re used to.
Expert Opinion on Booking the Cheapest Flights Internationally
I asked a travel consultant, Dawn Holland, a few questions on flight availability for international travel.
Here are some key points:
- The most important factor in flight pricing is availability. If you can plan ahead and are flexible with your dates or times, you can often find better pricing. Many business travelers fly out on Sunday afternoon or Monday morning and return on Friday afternoon.
- Leisure travelers or travelers returning from conferences and incentive trips frequently return on Sundays as well. If you can avoid Sunday travel and fly in the early morning or late evening, it can be easier to find availability on flights. Most people don’t like to be at the airport at 5 a.m. or land at midnight if they can help it, so these flights typically don’t fill up as fast.
- Planning early is the key if you’re traveling for holidays or spring break. Holiday travelers start planning in late summer, August/September, and spring break travelers usually start in November/December.
- April and May are great times to travel to the Caribbean. Hurricane season is typically June-November. Occasionally, there’s hurricane activity in May, so it can be a gamble, but not as much as July-September. Since the Caribbean is a popular winter destination, the off-season (April-November) rates are usually slightly lower at many resorts.
- Thailand can also be an economical destination during the low season (May-October); however, the weather may not be ideal. It’s typically hot and humid, but flights and hotels are normally more economical.
What Are the Most Important Factors in Determining Flight Prices?
The most important factor is the availability of seats on a plane. If we have one flight a day to Costa Rica, that flight will be VERY expensive, since they’re holding the monopoly of the route.
Currently, 1/3 of flight operations are in place, so if you want to go anywhere, you’re making additional stops if you aren’t in a hub city. You’re connecting to a flight with people from all over the country.
Example: flights to Cabo San Lucas are sky-high. People feel comfortable flying to Mexico, but there’s a lack of flights flying in and out of SJD. If we had two more flights a day, it would reduce the cost because Delta, United, American, and Southwest wouldn’t be able to charge the prices they do.
What Makes Flight Prices Cheap?
Cheaper flights are available to places with several airlines flying into them. Las Vegas and DFW are good examples of this, since several large airlines use these two airports as hubs. Weather is another factor. It’s cheaper to fly to Phoenix when it’s 110 degrees because no one wants to be in that heat.
What Are the Cheapest Cities to Fly to (Around The World)?
I wish there was an easier answer, as it depends on so much. Quick and short getaways within the USA from major cities will be less expensive. Pre-COVID, it would depend on the season and the events going on in the city.
Now, states are more open and busier. Look at Florida and Texas; they’re experiencing high traffic because you can get a break from your mask and enjoy a hotel and a meal in a restaurant.
Several countries are still shut down to travel, making it difficult to route a trip because several countries you could use to transit through won’t currently allow it.
What Is the Best Day to Buy Airline Tickets?
The best day to book a flight is usually Tuesday, but other factors, such as seasonality, also come into play when deciding what day to purchase your flight tickets.
One of the reasons that Tuesday is the cheapest weekday to buy flights is because major airlines release their seats on different days and at different times of the year. This means you may find a better deal booking flights for a specific time or month.
It’s important to remember that there’s not just one best day to book flights, as it varies depending on your destination and travel needs.
In summary, there’s no perfect answer when deciding what day of the week is best to purchase airline tickets.
The day to get the best flight ticket price depends on your destination, seasonality, and other factors that the particular airline takes into account when setting their ticket prices.
One way you can find out which is the cheapest day to buy your ticket is by using fare alerts through a website such as Scott’s Cheap Flights; this allows you to enter your travel information, and the website will send you an email if there’s a better deal on your desired flight.
If you’re looking for the best day to book international tickets, Monday is usually the best day. But again, certain airlines release their seats on different days, so it varies by airline.
The best days of the week to book flights, according to farecompare.com (Table 2), are as follows:
Sunday, Saturday, and Wednesday for domestic flights; Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday for international long-haul flights; Thursday and Monday for international short-haul flights.
As you can see above, the cheapest days of the week to book your flight varies depending on your destination and travel needs. The best day to buy tickets will change from person to person.
Best Time of Day to Book Flights
Skyscanner discloses that you can find the best flight deals on Saturday.
If you want the cheapest fares, book your trip as soon as possible. The best time of day to book flights is at 3 p.m., according to Skyscanner.
Saturday also happens to be the best day of the week to buy tickets, followed by Wednesday and Sunday, with cheaper prices on these days as opposed to others.
Skyscanner suggests you try booking your flights between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., when airfare prices are still lower than the day before, so if the fares drop in value, they’ll sell more of these cheap tickets.
When is the Best Time to Buy Your Plane Ticket for Holiday Travel?
If you want to find the absolute best prices, you might want to try booking your holiday travel by the end of October for a cheaper fare. Experts recommend booking Christmas flights 61 to 90 days before the holiday. The airfare will be lower than when you book before or after this prime booking window.
Latest Tips for Finding the Best Flight Deal
Here are some tips for finding the best airline ticket prices, regardless of the day of the week.
Use the Right Tools
Why care about the best day to fly when you can get flight deals directly to your inbox with alerts by Scott’s Cheap Flights.
If you’re searching for cheap airline tickets from the airlines, be sure to check out Skyscanner’s airfare calendar tool.
This informs you how much each airline will charge for a specific flight on a given date during the year.
Finally, use Google Flights to ensure you can find a domestic flight ticket or international ticket that meets your budget. You can use Google Flights to find multilocation, anywhere destinations or the lowest pricing for a particular destination. This site is one of the best for booking great flight deals.
Always Compare Airfares
Check out a few competing sites. Why pay more than you have to? Set up an alert to find the cheapest flights.
Signing up for an alert only takes a second, and the bargain comes to you by email. In the same way, if you find a ticket that suits your needs, double-check that they won’t find a better bargain elsewhere.
Be Flexible With Dates and Times
The best day for you to find the lowest fares isn’t always going to be the best day to find the best deals for other people. Always double-check your airfare sales with other third parties and multiple sites to ensure you get the best deal possible.
Being flexible when it comes to travel dates can also help you get a low fare. If no cheap tickets are available, consider flying on another day.
The prime booking window for U.S. domestic flights is typically 3 to 3.5 months in advance, but many book at 5 weeks successfully. The prime booking window for international flights is around 2 months before the travel dates. This is when you can find the cheapest airfare. Watch the fare closely when you search flights for your timeframe.
Travel With Friends or Family Members
If you’re flying alone, you can always split the fare with someone. This is especially useful if you’re taking a long flight across countries — splitting costs means saving money!
If you’re not traveling alone but for business purposes, why not split your hotel with someone else? You can make it a memorable experience for free.
You don’t have to fly at the same time as your loved ones, but you should definitely consider flying on the same flight if it’s convenient for everyone involved.
One person may book their ticket days in advance, while the other may want to book only a few hours before. You could even purchase a package tour that includes flights and hotels together if you find this is the best deal for your group.
Now that you have plans to get to your destination, it’s time to plan your itinerary while you’re there. Check out GetYourGuide for tours in the area you’ll be visiting.
What to Do If You Find a Good Flight Deal
When it comes to using coupons, there are two main questions: When should I use them?
And should I bother with any other coupon code since my first one is working?
Most of the time, people have already compared prices with a flight search engine, and these deals are so competitive that you won’t find a better price anywhere else.
While it makes sense to use your credit card points for flight deals, you should also consider how long you intend to keep that card.
Some travel credit cards have an annual fee, and if you don’t think the miles will be enough to pay for a flight, it may make more sense to cancel your card or hold on to it.
Let your journey begin with Skyscanner. Search for the best flights for your destination today to get the best deal.
What You Should Know Before Booking Flights
You should double-check all information about your trip before booking flights. Make sure your passport is good for at least 6 months before you leave and that the destination will accept it.
Also, don’t forget to keep safe copies of all documents, such as visas and travel permits, along with confirmation numbers and information about the hotel or package tours.
You never know when something may go wrong or if your bank has a problem, so you should have all your information ready.
Check Your Travel Insurance
Before booking your flight, be sure to check if it’s already included as part of your travel insurance. In some cases, this can save you a lot of money, as some insurance companies charge as much as 15% for each item booked directly with an airline.
Don’t forget to check your booking reference before you leave! This is the number that airlines print on your boarding pass, and it could also help you identify any problems or mistakes with your booking, saving you time when dealing with customer service representatives.
Within 24 hours of booking a flight online, be sure to check through your confirmation email for mistakes or typos, and contact the airline directly if there’s a problem. If you wait too long after booking your flight, you could end up paying more money to get where you wanted to go.
Have all your information ready before calling an airline’s customer service line: the ticket number, flight time and date, destination, and travel dates.
The customer service representative will ask you to verify the details, so you should know what city you’re flying into and how long you’re staying.
You may even be referred to a manager if there is an issue with your reservation that can’t be fixed right away over the phone.
TravelInsurance.com makes it easy to compare and buy policies online.
Know Your Rights as a Passenger
As soon as you receive your ticket, make sure to check the small print for things such as date changes, baggage allowances, and booking conditions. Airlines usually give you 24 hours after receiving your ticket to make a change without incurring any additional fees.
You may be entitled to compensation if your flight is delayed or canceled, so it’s best that you know about this beforehand, so you aren’t charged extra.
The best day to buy your flights will vary depending on where you’re flying. Airlines release seats at different times and days of the week, so this is just a general guide that provides insight into when airlines release their cheaper fares for booking.
These are general guidelines, and the cheapest days to book your flights will vary depending on your destination.
Know-How Far in Advance You Can Book a Flight
Most times, you can book a flight up to 11 months in advance. However, several factors could ultimately influence this timeline.
Remember, advance booking dates can vary based on how you plan to pay and whether you use miles and points to book your tickets. It’s best to try to book 28 to 35 days in advance if you don’t want to wait 3 months.
When booking your flight, you should also start checking out lodging accommodations for your trip. Hotels.com is a great resource for finding the perfect place to stay.
Do Flight Prices Get Cheaper Closer to the Date?
Flight prices can change, depending on the day of the week. Research has found that the best days to buy tickets are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Fridays are more expensive because Fridays are popular days to travel.
The most popular days that people travel on are during the summer weekends, so you should consider this when looking for a cheap flight deal if you plan on traveling during this time.
There has been an increase in the price for flights closer to the departure dates. Airlines release seats on different days and at different times of the year, which means you may find a better deal booking flights for a specific time or month.
You should book your international flight at least 5 weeks in advance. The rates are cheaper then. You can fly on Thanksgiving or Christmas because the rates are lower for those days.
Use Skyscanner to book the cheapest flight possible. Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine as you can find flights around the globe and from every airline possible. You'll be in great shape to get the best price possible.
You must grab a free trial or join Scott's Cheap Flights Premium to get cheap flight alerts directly to your email inbox. My favorite cheap flight alert was 25,000 Delta SkyMiles to London non-stop.
Monday 4th of April 2022
It never fails to amaze me how many variables are involved when it comes to finding a well priced flight. Thanks for the intel!