everywhere would like a magic potion to predict the best
time to buy an airline ticket to get a good deal at the
seasoned travel advisers say there is no perfect moment
to book an airfare, a recent study by Expedia Inc. and
Airlines Reporting Corp., or ARC, suggests that based on
thousands of flights in 2016, the lowest average ticket
prices were purchased on weekends, especially on
crunched numbers gathered by ARC from corporate travel
companies and online and brick-and-mortar travel
agencies and determined that flights within the United
States booked on Sunday were 11 percent cheaper. Flights
from the United States to Europe were 16 percent
cheaper, and between the U.S. and Asia, fares purchased
on Sunday cost 10 percent less.
reason that you are going to see average ticket price on
Saturday and Sunday being so much lower is because of
the type of travel that is purchased," said Chuck
Thackston, ARCís managing director of enterprise
information. Most travel purchased on the weekends is
for holiday or leisure travel, while more
"premium" or business travel is booked during
travelers booking at the last minute, those fares will
typically be higher," Thackston said.
"Airlines are aware that leisure travelers are
looking on the weekends, so theyíll make those fares
available on the weekend."
say the picture is more complicated. Prices constantly
fluctuate, based on how full the plane is, the route ó
and competition on the route ó the date of travel, and
day of the week.
have never experienced that purchasing the ticket on a
certain day of the week makes any difference," said
Jeffrey Erlbaum, president of ETA Travel in suburban
Philadelphia. "The fares donít change very much
from day to day. Itís availability that generally
makes a difference. Somebody might have booked that
flight, a group, and thatís going to jump your fare
seen no rhyme or reason to the fare sales," Erlbaum
said. "A fare between two points can go on sale any
time, but if availability on the flight you want isnít
there ó if the flight is full ó thatís going to
make a difference."
Hobica, founder of the fare alert website
Airfarewatchdog.com, said: "As far as Sunday being
the best day to buy tickets, thatís nonsense. An
incredibly low fare can be snuck into the reservation
systems any day of the week in terms of booking."
not in terms of flying, he said. "Tuesday and
Wednesday are the best days to fly."
said availability on flights is greater on Wednesdays,
and that translates to lower fares. "As the flight
gets fuller, those lower-fare buckets get sold out, and
you are pushed into a higher-fare bucket."
purchased 21 days in advance are usually cheaper than
closer-in purchases. The Expedia report found that
average round trips purchased three weeks before
departure were as much as 30 percent lower, especially
for trips within the United States and Europe.
many parts of the world, itineraries that include a
Saturday night stay-over are less expensive ó up to 57
percent less, the report said.
study noted that, overall, average airline ticket prices
in 2016 continued a three-year decline ó the lowest
since 2013 ó due to increased airline seat capacity,
an improving economy, and lower jet fuel costs.
agrees that airfares are generally lower, but not out of
every city, on every route. "Competition plays a
major role. The legacy carriers ó American, Delta,
United ó do not compete as much on fares as if
Southwest or JetBlue is flying."
said, "On some routes, fares have gone down more
than the average, and some routes between smaller cities
where thereís less competition, theyíve gone up more
than average. But, in general, especially when you
adjust for inflation, the trend has been down.
donít perceive it that way, but itís like many
things: Perception is not always in line with reality.
The reality is that with airline consolidation, on
average, airfares have been going down," Hobica