The Magic Date Prices Drop in August (and beyond)

Good news if you’ve been putting off that summer trip. Airline ticket prices drop in late August for both U.S. domestic and international flights.

LISTEN: Rick Seaney has the magic touch (of a cheapskate).

Magic Date to Fly: Aug. 23, 2016

This year, what we call the magic date to fly is Aug. 23. You can shop now but be sure your itinerary starts on Aug. 23 or beyond to take advantage of the fall savings.

  • Tip: The date varies from year to year but is always toward the end of August.

6 Things to Know about Magic Date Prices Drop

1. When is the fall deals zone?

It begins this year on Aug. 23 and extends through late October when prices drop again. Caution: Prices rise sharply during the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday in late November.

2. Why do prices drop in late August?

Despite what the calendar says, this is the start of the airlines’ fall season because many children go back to school and demand for travel slows down. When demand dries up, airlines try to lure passengers back with lower fares.

3. How much can you save?

It varies by departure and destination cities but in years past we’ve seen prices drop 15 to 20% from peak summer fares. Your savings could vary.

4. How to find the cheapest flights?

Here are some of the easiest ways:

5. When’s the next price drop?

Watch for price drops during these travel periods:

  • Mid to late October
  • First two weeks in November (particularly for U.S. flights)
  • After the first week of January through mid to late March (except for some in-demand warm weather destinations).

6. What travel periods should be avoided?

  • In the U.S.: Avoid the Thanksgiving travel period; the holiday itself falls on Thursday, Nov. 24 this year but the Wednesday before and the Sunday after are particularly expensive.
  • In much of the world: Avoid the days immediately surrounding Christmas (Dec. 25) and New Year’s (Jan. 1) as they are usually peak travel periods.



Updated: July 20, 2016