The Cheapest Times of the Year to Fly – The Dead Zones

If you are free to travel pretty much any time you like, why are you home? You could be flying a dead zone and saving a pile of money.

LISTEN: Airfare ace Rick Seaney is a dead zone expert.

What is a Dead Zone

The biggest thing to know about dead zones – also known as off-peak periods – is these are the times of the year far outside traditional vacation months. In other words, times when hardly anyone want to fly. Or can. Either the kids are in school, work is demanding or folks are all ‘flown out’ after busy holiday periods.

Airlines know this but they still have to fill their planes so prices can drop like a stone. Did we say stone? Make that a boulder. Some dead zone bargains found in the Deals Blog, November 2014:

  • Ft. Lauderdale – Jacksonville from $34 one-way
  • San Francisco – Las Vegas from $49 one-way
  • Washington, D.C. – Dallas, from $49 one-way
  • Houston – Boston from $62 one-way
  • Boston – Dublin, Ireland from $599 round-trip

When are the Dead Zones

The biggest dead zones of the year in the U.S. occur from November through February. International visitors may see similar patterns, especially for dead zones #2 and #3, with transatlantic flights particularly cheap during January, February and March.

Dead Zone #1 – November: Typically the first two weeks of November, before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday travel rush gets underway.

  • Note: October is relatively cheap as well.

Dead Zone #2 – December: Roughly the first two weeks of December, after Thanksgiving flights are completed and just before Christmas travel gears up.

  • Note: Sometimes good deals can be found as late as Dec. 18 but the date varies year-by-year.

Dead Zone #3 – January/February: This may be the cheapest dead zone of all and it typically gets underway around Jan. 7 or 8 and continues into February. It will general end in the  middle of the month ending the start of the unofficial Spring Break season in the U.S.

  • Note: The January dead zone often ends around Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) and this romantic holiday can be an expensive time to fly if it falls on a weekend – as it does in 2015.

Dead Zone Days

There are days of the week that could be considered mini-dead zones and occur year round: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and often Saturdays, the cheapest days to fly. Fridays and Sundays are typically the most expensive days to fly.

How to Find Dead Zone Deals

This advice is good for dead zone travel, good any time of year and good for travelers around the world.


Updated: November 24, 2014