The only thing better than booking a vacation is actually going on one, but making sure you get the best deal for a trip is never easy. So, when is the best time to book a flight in order to get the best possible price out there? Well, CheapAir just came out with their Annual Airfare Study, which looked at 921 million airfares from 2.9 million trips to find the best and worst times to buy an airline ticket and it seems the results haven’t changed much from last year.
The study finds that for the second year in a row, the best deals on domestic flights can be found about 54 days before a trip, on average, although it does depend on when and where you’re flying. And you’re not crazy if you think airfares are changing constantly. Believe it or not, the cost of a flight can change 71 times from the time it’s announced until take off, which translates to airfare changes, on average, every 4-point-5 days, with a price fluctuation of $33 higher or lower.
Contrary to some reports, the day of the week you book doesn’t necessarily make much of a difference. Turns out there’s a less than a $2 difference in airfare between purchase days. Where you will find a big difference is with the day you actually fly. No surprise, traveling on Tuesday and Wednesday will give you the cheapest fares, while a Sunday trip will cost you the most, with an average difference of $73.
As for the overall worst time to buy a ticket, that comes in what CheapAir calls the "Hail Mary" zone, which is between zero and two weeks before a flight when prices are at their highest, and availability is limited. And it shouldn't shock people that the absolute worst time to buy a ticket is the day before you leave, when prices will be $249 more on average with the least number of options open to you.