Booking Your Flight: When to Buy and What Else to Know

There’s a rumor out there that best time to purchase airline tickets is on a Tuesday, at 3pm, in the week that is five weeks before your departure date. Or maybe it’s actually two months / eight weeks before you plan on taking off? Or maybe it’s Wednesday at 10am?

Travel industry insiders, seasoned passengers — and your Uncle Marty— all probably have some advice on this topic. Luckily for us, the good folks at Expedia, Inc., and the Airlines Reporting Corporation released a study. They took a long hard look at data mined, analyzed it for trends and best practices, and made some thoughtful predictions.

Here are the highlights:

  • Ticket prices have declined. And cheers to that. Purchase prices have declined by about 8 percent on average – with July and August seeing the biggest drops. And while it may not seem like a huge decrease, that covers your Uber ride to the airport on a $350 ticket or buys you dinner – or maybe even a hotel night’s stay – on a pricier fare.
  • It’s all about Europe. During the travel time period that was analyzed, the biggest bargains came from tickets purchased for flights within Europe. For so many years, travelers that wanted to bum around Europe opted for train travel. Now, with airline prices dropping as much as 23 percent, it’s just as easy – and maybe more affordable – to jump on a plane to get to and from your European destinations. It gives you a greater travel range as well. Why not fly from Rome to Barcelona or jet from Prague to Vilnius?
  • Buy your ticket early. Depending on your origin and your destination, the savings vary, but a good, solid, general rule-of-thumb is to buy your ticket in advance – even up to six months in advance if your plans allow for it. Even at 21 days ahead of your trip, you can save money. For those travelers who have a week of vacation set aside on the work calendar, but are unsure of vacation location, it is best for them to make a decision and buy about two months ahead of time. In fact, 57 days from departure date seems to be a magic number in the analysis – but please don’t worry if you hit “bill me later” 60 days out. Your savings will be about the same.
  • Just don’t buy your ticket on a Friday. For years, everyone said – and data showed – that the best time to buy your ticket was on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. Recent data mixed it up and revealed that weekends also prove to offer great opportunities to find excellent deals on flights. This is true for both economy class and premium class fares. But, please do avoid Friday – prices can skyrocket.
  • Consider package deals. The report finds that travelers can save 20 percent or more by booking airline tickets, hotel rooms, and car rentals at the same time. For single travelers looking to embark on a group vacation, once you book your bargain flight based on our tips above, we can take care of the rest by offering you affordable packages that include everything from hotels, to local ground transportation, to meals and excursions.

Contact us to learn more.

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