What Is the Most Affordable Time to Book a Flight?

Want to receive the cheapest flight possible? You are not alone. We are always trying to lock in the lowest price for airline tickets, whether it’s to visit family or for that next great vacation. Thanks to the internet and online travel agencies and discount suppliers that have replaced conventional brokers, we finally have access to a wider selection of prices and options and all at our fingertips.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    • Flights tend to be the most economical between four weeks and three weeks before your departure date.

Seasonal adjustments and vacations can create price fluctuations in ticket prices.

The day of the week that you reserve a flight doesn’t affect the price.

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Recognizing why Airline Ticket Prices Fluctuate

Plane tickets typically don’t get cheaper closer to the departure date. Flights are generally the most inexpensive when you reserve between four weeks and three weeks before your departure date.

According to the CheapAir.com 2019 Annual Airfare Study, you can expect rates to go up after that interval.1 There might, of course, be some compounding factors that could affect this. Seasonal adjustments and holidays, as an example, can affect pricing at various times. Here is a look at how airline prices tend to move, according to the study.

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The Volatility of Airfare Prices

Every year, discount airfare firm CheapAir.com analyzes countless flights and ticket prices. From the CheapAir.com 2019 study, the business looked at fares for at least 917 million flights in 8,000 markets. The results reveal volatility is the primary cause of the prices of flights.1

The company revealed that the ticket prices fluctuate depending on the quantity of time between the purchase and the flight, seasonality, and if the flight is to Hawaii, which differs from booking a flight anywhere else. Day of the week, however, is a myth and doesn’t affect price.1

Six Booking Zones

From its extensive analysis, CheapAir.com identified six booking zones for airfares based on the amount of days prior to departure and what to expect during each of these.

First Dibs (203-315 days in advance)

You’ll pay about $50 more during this period than if you waited to find the lowest airfare. The positive in this period is you will most likely have more options when it comes to itinerary and seats.

Peace of Mind (116-202 days in advance)

Tickets cost about $20 more during this time than if you waited for the cheapest airfare. Still, there are loads of good alternatives for flights and seats.

Prime Booking Window (21-115 days in advance)

Airfares average within 5 percent of the lowest prices in this period. It’s the perfect time to hunt for deals and book your flights.

Push Your Luck (14-20 days in advance)

Fares often rise during this time period. The most convenient flight choices are sold out, and the best seat choices are already taken. However, you may luck out and find some lower fares during this period.

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Playing with Fire (7-13 days in advance)

The pricing in this period is, normally, $135 lower than it would be if you waited until the last minute to purchase your tickets, but it’s still not the perfect time to purchase . Flight and chair options are also limited by this time.

Hail Mary (0-6 days ahead )

If possible, you should attempt to avoid booking flights during this period unless a last-minute crisis arises. You will pay an average of $220 more than if you’d booked throughout the prime booking window.1

Seasonal Considerations

The overall recommendations which CheapAir.com lays out in the six booking zones can be useful tips for buying plane tickets. But the business notes they may change based on the season.

Fall

      • :You can us
      ually wait a little longer to reserve fall travel and still get decent bargains. The average ideal time to purchase is 69 days ahead of time. The exclusion is Thanksgiving week, for that you should book travel sooner.

Winter:Travel around the Christmas and New Year holidays will often cost no matter what; differently, winter can be an inexpensive time to travel. For non-holiday traveling, aim to purchase plane tickets 94 days ahead of time.

Spring:Many people travel through a broad assortment of times for spring break, so the secret to travel in this year is to plan ahead. If possible, purchase your tickets 84 days ahead of time.

Summer:This is the most popular season for American traveling. CheapAir.com recommends purchasing your tickets 99 days in advance during this time.1

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Special Factors for Booking Flights

As you shop around for the best possible flight, remember the suggestions and windows of time laid out from CheapAir.com above. However, you also need to remember one more thing: When you see a deal, take it. If you wait, you might be costing yourself more money in the long run. The longer you wait, the more you will end up paying, which might not be useful for your budget.

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