What’s the best time to buy tickets on American Airlines so you can get a great airfare deal? First, a brief history of the carrier, followed by tips to find the cheapest flights.
Brief History of American Airlines
As of May 2017, Texas-based American Airlines was recognized as the world’s largest airline by revenue (followed by Delta, United, Lufthansa and Air France-KLM) but it started out as a humble mail carrier. According to American’s website, one of its earliest pilots made some history of his own: “[In 1926] Charles Lindbergh flew the first American Airlines flight carrying U.S. mail from St. Louis to Chicago.” Today American flies to 350 cities around the world.
How American is Different
American does some things a little differently than some airlines; it’s important to know this when it comes time to shopping and booking flights.
No more conventional airfare sales: Back in 2016, American dropped its weekly fare sales, choosing instead to highlight special deals that earn its members more miles. But don’t worry; the airline still matches prices on competitive routes.
Basic economy seats now available on certain routes: Like Delta and United, American has launched a new cheap class of travel called basic economy (currently available only on a limited number of routes). Fares are lower than standard economy, but passengers are not allowed to bring carry-ons aboard the plane (it must be checked for a fee) and you cannot choose seats (the airline selects them for you so expect to fly in a lot of middle seats). Basic economy may not be the best deal for everyone.
Be certain of your dates: Most economy fares are nonrefundable (including basic and standard), and changes on American will cost up to $200 per ticket (and more on international flights). However, if you change your mind within 24 hours of purchase, you can cancel or change tickets for free.
American won’t always have the cheapest price: Sometimes American will be cheapest, sometimes it’ll be Spirit or Southwest. If you want the cheapest ticket regardless of airline, you must use a comparison airfare search site. It’s quick, it’s easy.
Best Time to Buy Plane Tickets on American
Generally speaking this ‘when to buy’ advice is true for all U.S. airlines.
- Shop for tickets on Tuesday afternoon.
Reason: Most airlines launch sales on either late Monday or early Tuesday; by that afternoon, competing airlines have lowered their fares on overlapping routes, and shoppers will have the most deals to choose from.
How to Find Airfare Deals on American
Always compare airfares: On FareCompare, you can select only the airlines you wish to fly – including American – but look at the prices for all of them; you may decide another carrier’s deal is too good to resist.
Fly the cheapest days: On U.S. flights, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are usually the cheapest days to fly. On international flights, weekdays are generally cheaper than weekends (but not always).
Sign up for airfare alerts: This will alert you to the best airfare deals in real-time. The more flexible you can be on travel dates, the better this will work for you.
Use the Getaway Map: If you’re open to traveling just about anywhere, you’ll love the Getaway Map. It will show you prices to cities near and far and all of them pop-up instantly.
Fly to bigger airports: American boasts several hub airports including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and more, and often a bigger airport means cheaper tickets. When looking at prices on FareCompare, be sure to click the box to ‘view all’ airports; just another way of finding you the best deal possible.