Airfare analyst Rick Seaney has a brand new rule for summer travelers looking for the cheapest flights possible and he sums it up this way:
Shop One Day Earlier
“Think about which day you plan to shop for your flights,” said Seaney, “then move that up at least one day earlier.”
According to the air travel expert, most people in the U.S. procrastinate when it comes to shopping for plane tickets. What procrastination does, explained Seaney, is real simple: “It basically puts you in the hands of the airlines because when you delay, they get to call the shots, price-wise.”
Worst Time to Shop
Most of us delay too long, says Seaney which means there isn’t enough time before our departure date to find the best deals available. The clock begins ticking on the worst shopping windows – meaning most expensive – as follows:
- Legacy carriers (American, Delta, United and US Airways): About 14 days before departure
- Discount carriers (Frontier, JetBlue and Southwest): About 7 days ahead of departure
Shop during the time frames above and you will generally pay more than you have to. And sometimes you will pay the grossly inflated prices that last-minute business travelers are accustomed to.
“Do yourself a favor,” says Seaney, “Do not procrastinate.” He suggests perusing the Deals Blog for upcoming specials and also checking out FareCompare’s Cheapest Destination for Summer Vacation Flights.