Believing there’s just one optimal day a week to save on flights — and that day is Tuesday — is the stuff of legends. And like all good legends, there is some truth to it … but it’s not the full story.
The reality is that flight prices change constantly and at all hours of the day, adjusting to real-time demand. Airlines don’t restock on the same day every week like a grocery store, so you won’t find deals by waiting until Tuesdays to book. However, you might find some modest savings if you’re willing to fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday, when there’s less demand than usual.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
Best day to book a flight
There is no single day of the week that is best to book a flight. You can find deals any day of the week since flight prices fluctuate with demand.
Airlines might offer sales, increase the number of seats on a route or even lower prices to match a competitor, so there’s no real pattern in what day of the week has the best deals.
Best day to fly
We analyzed data collected by Hopper — a travel booking app — from January through May 2022, for departures in the month of April. Here’s what the data says about the best day to fly.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest days to fly domestically
The cheapest days to depart if you’re flying within the U.S. are midweek — generally Tuesday or Wednesday.
For economy tickets, Tuesdays are about 24% lower than peak prices on Sundays, which translates to savings of about $85 per ticket.
The same is generally true for business class and first class travelers.
Saturday and Monday flights can help you avoid the Sunday rush
Saturdays and Mondays are the next cheapest days to fly after midweek flights. The average airfare is about 13%-15% lower on these days. That means if you move your trip just one day forward or one day back from Sunday, you can usually save about $50 per ticket.
Wednesdays and Thursdays are the cheapest day to fly internationally
Meanwhile, international flyers would be wise to leave on Wednesdays, which are the cheapest day to depart for an international trip. That said, there isn’t a huge difference in price across the different days of the week.
By leaving on a Wednesday, you’ll only be saving about 12% compared to the most expensive day (Sunday) — and compared to the 24% difference between the cheapest and most expensive days to fly domestically.
Tips to find cheap flights any day of the week
Book one to three months in advance
Even though there’s no day of the week that consistently has cheaper flights, there is a time period in which you should book before prices go up.
Scott’s Cheap Flights, an email newsletter with flight deals, recommends booking one to three months in advance for domestic flights to avoid any price surges in the weeks leading up to the departure date. Last-minute flight deals aren’t super common and you risk not getting a seat at all because your desired flight might completely sell out. If you’re flying internationally, you’ll want to look two to eight months out.
Set a price alert
Let a computer program do the work for you. Instead of you checking flight prices every day, set a price alert on the travel search engine of your choice — whether it’s Google Flights, Hopper, Skyscanner or Kayak. They’ll send you an email when they see the price drop.
Rebook if you find a cheaper price
Most airlines have adopted more flexible change and cancellation policies, which is making it easier to rebook your flight to save money.
First, you’ll have to make sure that the original flight you booked will not have change or cancellation fees. For most airlines, that applies to most domestic flights (except if you book basic economy) and some short-haul international flights.
Then, if you find a better deal, you can cancel your flight and rebook (on the same airline or a different one) to get the cheaper price. Be aware that you might only get a travel voucher or credit if you cancel, so you should only use the option if you are fairly confident you will fly with the original airline again within one year.
Be flexible with destination, airport and dates
The golden rule of cheap travel remains: Be flexible. Use Google Flights to see if there are cheaper places to go by leaving the destination field blank when you search. Check nearby airports if you’re set on a destination. And use the calendar views to find lower prices on different dates. After all, the best day to book a flight and the best day to fly is when it’s cheapest, and that could vary depending on when and where you are going.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card(Video) How to pick your first travel credit card — in one minute
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Which day of the week is best to book a flight? ›
Data from the new 2023 Air Travel Hacks Report from ARC and Expedia reveals the best day to book flights. Avoid booking on a Friday. The best day of the week to book your airfare is a Sunday.Do flight prices go down on Tuesday? ›
When do flight prices drop during the week? According to our data: Tuesday. It seems most airlines launch their discounts on Monday nights, so you can pick up the best prices on Tuesday mornings. Typically, you'll save somewhere between 15 and 25 percent.What are the least expensive days to book a flight? ›
Typically, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday is the cheapest day to fly. If you can structure your travel schedule around these days, these will likely be the best days to fly – both for a lower cost and a less-hectic airport experience.What is the best date and time to book a flight? ›
Flights are generally the most inexpensive between four months and three weeks before your departure date. Seasonal changes and holidays can create price fluctuations in ticket prices. The day of the week that you book a flight does not affect the price.Is Tuesday night the best time to book a flight? ›
It's time to let go of the myth that Tuesdays – or any day – are the key to finding cheap flights. There is no ironclad best day to book flights.What time do flight prices drop? ›
Answer: Prices drop for flights around 60 days away from departure. This is a loose rule with a window of 45-90 days out, but I usually find my best prices about two months away from traveling. Prices also drop based on sales by the airlines and other promotions for specific destinations.What time in Tuesday do flight prices go down? ›
Tuesday Around Midnight is the Cheapest Time to Book
We found that travelers who search for flights on Tuesday at midnight save about 6% on their flights, making this the cheapest time of the week to book. In general, flights were slightly cheaper at midnight earlier in the week (Monday through Wednesday).
Airlines are not tracking your searches.
Neither is Google Flights – the best search platform for finding good deals on airfare – or most other search engines and online travel agencies (OTAs) like Expedia, Hopper and Priceline. Your flight searches aren't being affected by your previous searches.
Early to midweek tends to be cheaper on off-peak days, and as a rule of thumb, the busier the weekend, the more the flight is going to cost. “I've found that it is generally cheaper to fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays,” adds Dengler.Why are flights cheaper on Tuesdays? ›
Apparently, this is due to airlines announcing deals on Monday evenings. By Tuesday at noon, other airlines are trying to match those deals. So Tuesday afternoons are the best time to hunt for reduced airfare. But is Tuesday really the cheapest day to buy airline tickets?
Do flights go down in price closer to the date? ›
Plane tickets usually don't get cheaper closer to the departure date. Flights tend to be the most inexpensive when you book between four months and three weeks before your departure date. According to the CheapAir 2019 Annual Airfare Study, you can expect rates to go up after that period.Do flight prices go down at midnight? ›
Booking Searches Are Low
It is quite obvious that based on searches, airlines vary their prices. At midnight, fewer people are willing to open sites and book tickets. This drops down the overall price of the ticket and you can get the ticket at a very affordable price by dialing 1-802-341-3403.
Not only do airfares change often over the life of the fare, it can also change during the day. Factors that can impact these mid-day changes include flight demand, flight availability and external factors like COVID-19 virus and even geopolitics.Is Tuesday morning the best time to buy airline tickets? ›
In the past, you may have heard that the secret best time to buy flights was Tuesday at midnight, but according to Hayley Berg, lead economist for travel deals app Hopper, that's not always the case. “We found that this was only applicable to 1.6% of routes and yielded savings of 6%,” she says.Does clearing your cookies make flights cheaper? ›
Will Clearing my Cookies Help me Find a Cheaper Flight? No. Skyscanner is unbiased and, as mentioned above, the flight prices we display are based on what travel providers (online travel agencies and airlines) tell us they are.How to get cheap flight tickets? ›
- Start early: Image Source: ...
- Be flexible with the date: ...
- Use and compare multiple search engines: ...
- Try budget airlines: ...
- Go incognito: ...
- Look for frequent flyer miles and points: ...
- Use alternative routes: ...
- Search the price for a single person:
When searching for a great travel deal, it's best to search both logged in and anonymously to compare all the deals, because it can make a difference — but not a significant difference. Flight prices can vary based on the day and time at which you perform your search.What day is the most expensive to book flights? ›
According to the CheapAir study, the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday and Wednesday, when you'll save an average of $73 per ticket. Sunday is the most expensive. The Expedia/ARC study found that the cheapest day to travel domestically depends on the airport, but internationally, Thursday and Friday are best.What is the cheapest month to fly in 2022? ›
Mid-September to mid-October is the best time to book for holiday travel. According to Hopper's analysis of flight habits in 2022, most travelers will pay about $350 for a “good deal domestic Thanksgiving flight,” about 43% higher than last year.Why do flight prices go down on Tuesdays? ›
According to the internet, the best day of the week to buy flights is a Tuesday. Apparently, this is due to airlines announcing deals on Monday evenings. By Tuesday at noon, other airlines are trying to match those deals. So Tuesday afternoons are the best time to hunt for reduced airfare.
Do flight prices go down closer to the date? ›
Airline tickets rarely decrease in price as the departure date approaches. In fact, airline pricing typically increases closer to the departure date. To fill the most seats, airlines often offer the lowest prices far in advance. As the departure date nears, the prices gradually increase.Do flight ticket prices drop last minute? ›
Here's what you have to remember: Last-minute flights aren't cheaper: on the contrary, they tend to get more expensive the closer to the departure date. If you have no choice but to book at the last minute, use tools like Skyscanner's “everywhere search” or lastminute.com.Do flights come down in price last minute? ›
Generally speaking, flights are often cheaper last minute if there are still a significant number of seats available. On the other hand, if the flight is almost full then this will most likely result in inflated prices.Can you negotiate airline ticket prices? ›
You can use travel agents, the true champions of negotiations, to fetch the best deals for you. You can even try bargaining directly with the airline's representative on the toll-free number. Be patient and polite, and ask them about the possibilities of getting the flight at a lower fare.Why do flight prices change the more you search? ›
“What people see when they shop multiple times and prices are changing is a reflection of inventory changes, data caching techniques and the fact that prices generally get more expensive closer to departure date, even within a day.”Are last minute tickets cheaper or more expensive? ›
Why do fares get more expensive the longer you wait? You'd think everything would get cheaper as airlines try to sell off as many seats as possible, but that's far from the truth. In fact, it's the opposite. Airfare becomes notoriously expensive at the last minute.Are flights cheaper in the morning? ›
Yes, morning flights can be cheaper. Because they are flown at off-peak times, airlines sell morning flights at a cheaper rate as an incentive for customers to choose morning flights over flights at other times of the day.