We all want the cheapest flights possible and that’s what this guide is all about: Finding the cheapest days to fly and getting the best deals on airfare. Comparison shopping is a big help and so is knowing when to buy tickets and the best days to fly. There are lots of other ways to save, too, so let’s get started.
1. Shop on Tuesday
Best day to shop: The best time to book a U.S. flight is usually Tuesday at about 3 p.m. eastern time. We have previously explained why Tuesday is the best day to shop for airline tickets and it’s because many airlines release weekly airfare sales in the early morning hours of Tuesday, and by mid-afternoon, competing airlines have matched sale prices. In other words, shoppers now have the most deals to choose from.
2. Don’t Shop too Early or too Late
Careful! Buy too early and you could pay too much. Buy too late and you could pay way too much. The sweet spot for deals is usually found in the following shopping windows.
U.S. tickets: Shop between 3 months and 30 days before departure.
International tickets: Shop between 5 ½ months and 1 ½ months before departure.
Popular times to fly: For peak travel periods such as June, July, and August; Thanksgiving or Christmas/New Year’s; and other holiday dates, purchase tickets two months in advance.
Shop current deals: If you’re an opportunistic travel (or you’re just feeling lucky), you can always search current FareCompare Deals.
3. Always Compare Airfare
The golden rule of shopping: Always compare airfares. Some folks don’t because they ‘know’ their favorite airline always has the best deal, but no airline always has the cheapest prices, not Spirit, not Southwest, not every single time, and we’ve proved this. If you don’t compare, you could pay too much and why pay a penny more than you have to?
Tip: Set a FareCompare airfare alert and we’ll do the work for you! Signing up for alerts only takes a second and the deals come to directly to you via email. If you see one you like, act fast; the best deals don’t last long!
4. Cheapest Days to Fly
Save even more by knowing the cheapest days to fly. If you can’t book cheap days for your entire flight, do it for one leg of the trip and you’ll still see some savings.
Cheap days: In the U.S., Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday are usually cheapest. For international travel, weekdays are usually cheaper than weekends.
Expensive days: Fridays and Sundays usually cost more, especially in the U.S.
Cheap times of day: Fly when most people don’t want to, so cheap times include dawn, overnight and flights around the lunch and dinner hour.
Tip: We can help you find the cheapest days from your city with the Getaway Map. Just type in your hometown, click the month or season you’d like the fly, and deals to destinations around the world fill the screen.
5. Fly the Cheapest Route
Non-stops vs. connecting flights: Non-stops are more convenient but you can sometimes find much better deals on connecting flights – with savings up to 50%. Always compare the price of a non-stop with a connecting flight before you ding your credit card, and only you can decide if a cheaper price is worth the inconvenience of a longer travel day.
6. Book Group Travel One Ticket at a Time
This won’t always save money, but it could so it’s always worth a try.
How to shop: When booking travel for two or more people, book just one ticket to start because a quirk in airline reservation systems means multiple tickets sold in a single transaction must be the same price. For example, say you need two tickets and the airline has one for $100 while all the others are $125. Unfortunately, the two tickets you buy in a single transaction will cost you $125 each. However, if you buy those tickets one-at-a-time, you’ll pay $100 for one, $125 for the other.