Cheap Airfare? Still a Mystery
The secrets to getting the best prices on your plane ticket.
There must be some rhyme or reason as to when to purchase your plane ticket to get the cheapest rate, right? Good luck figuring it out. Three airfare search websites—Expedia, CheapAir and Skyscanner—recently came out with three different studies purporting to reveal the secrets of getting the best prices on your plane tickets. The problem? Their conclusions conflict.
While Expedia and Skyscanner both recommend booking domestic flights two to three weeks in advance, CheapAir identifies four months to three weeks in advance as the “prime booking window”—and 76 days out as the “best day” to purchase tickets for a domestic flight. Does the day of the week that you purchase make a difference? Skyscanner says Tuesday is the best day to purchase domestic travel, and Wednesday is prime for international tickets. Expedia says to fire up your computer on the weekends, particularly on Sundays. CheapAir, on the other hand, says it’s a “myth” that the day you purchase matters, concluding that it has “a negligible effect on flight cost.” So, by all means, do your research and compare airfares, but don’t get too caught up in whether you’ve found the rock-bottom price. Even the experts can’t agree on a winning formula.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 edition of AAA World.