Cheapest Days to Fly in 2017

Posted December 2016

We’ve seen some very good airfare deals this past year and it looks like 2017 is shaping up to be as good or better.

The big news: There are great deals for transatlantic travel in June, and even in July and August. Best of all, these deals are available now (but perhaps not for long). We found the deals you’ll see below on FareCompare and our Getaway Map.

Cheapest Days to Fly 2017: Domestic U.S.

No crystal ball is flawless; a host of factors affect airline ticket pricing, ranging from passenger demand to the price of jet fuel (and we may see a rise in oil prices this year). In other words, the situation could change but after analyzing current pricing data, here’s what we know – right now – about when to fly for the cheapest flights in 2017.

  • Winter: Fly Jan. 7 to March 5 (with one blackout period from Feb. 11-24)
  • Spring: Fly by April 1, before the spring price bump of April 2-18
  • Pre-Summer: Fly by June 2, before the summer price bump which begins June 3
  • Summer: Fly by June 19, before peak summer-pricing kicks in on June 20

The winter deal zone from January to March almost always has the cheapest prices of the year as fares drop sharply after the busy holiday travel season. As for the higher-priced blackout period in February, blame it on demand for travel around Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) and the U.S. holiday, Presidents’ Day (Feb. 20). Otherwise, winter prices are low and here are some examples:

Round-trip fares for January weekdays, found Dec. 21:

  • Baltimore – Las Vegas, $175
  • Boston – Houston, $97
  • New York – Miami, $99
  • New York – Palm Springs, CA, $201
  • Washington, D.C. – Orlando, $107

Notice how close the NY-Palm Springs flight comes to what I call the Holy Grail of pricing which is coast-to-coast for $99 each-way.

Cheapest Days to Fly 2017: Europe

Fall and winter months are generally the cheapest times to fly to and from Europe (November to late March) but in 2017 we are also seeing historically low fares to several European cities in summer. So the usual rules – wait five months before departure to buy tickets to Europe – go out the window, for the moment, anyway. You can buy at least early summer tickets to Europe right now.

What I see now, for average round-trip, peak-season/summer fares to Europe from the East Coast.

  • London: Ticket prices are consistently under $650 through the summer months
  • Paris: Fares range from $600 to $700, higher for travel on Sundays
  • Rome: Prices jump May 30 – Aug. 22 but remain under $1,000 on weekends, $870 midweek

It’s not just east coast, though; this round-trip fare (found Dec. 21) is also good for travel in June.

  • Los Angeles to London, $544

We found other deals and you can, too.

Cheapest Days to Fly 2017: Rest of World

If you live in a region of the world that celebrates December holidays, you too will likely see a big dip in airfare prices beginning in the first week of January. Periods when children are out of school tend to have high airline ticket prices as school holidays typically signal peak-pricing periods due to demand for family vacation travel.

Cheapest Days to Fly 2017: Caution

Caution: As noted, most of the fares we’ve mentioned here were found Dec. 21 and at least some prices may have gone up since then. Go ahead and shop now but remember, always compare fares and use the Getaway Map to search different months to find the best deals to your destination of choice.

Bottom line: 2017 is shaping up to be an excellent year for exploring destinations near and far. And let me repeat, always compare airfares; it’s the golden rule for finding airfare deals.


Updated: January 3, 2017