American Airlines plane
History of American How AA is Different Best Time to Buy 5 Ways to Find Deals

What’s the best time to buy plane tickets on American Airlines so you can get a great 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: Since late last year, 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 class called basic economy (currently available only on a limited number of routes). Fares are lower than standard economy, but you cannot bring a carry-on aboard your flight (it must be checked for a fee) and you cannot choose your seats. Depending on the traveler, basic economy is not always the best deal.

Be certain of your dates: Most economy fares are nonrefundable (including basic and standard economy), and changes on American will cost up to $200 per ticket (more on international flights). You do have one option: If you change your mind within 24 hours of the purchase, you can cancel or change the ticket 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

This advice is the same for all U.S. airlines, generally speaking.

  • 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 see the prices for all of them, too; you may decide another carrier’s deal is too cheap 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, the more this will work for you.

Use the Getaway Map: If you know you want to fly in a particular month or season, the Getaway Map will show you the deals instantly.

Fly to bigger airports: American boasts several hub airports including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and many more, and sometimes bigger is cheaper. When looking at prices on FareCompare, be sure to click the box the left beside the word airports so you can ‘view all’ and have a better shot at finding a good deal.

Safe travels.