Ever book a plane ticket only to have the cost skyrocket only a few days later? Ever have the opposite happen, when you book a plane ticket and notice that the price drops the next day? We have all been there, and these situations have many travellers wondering when they should purchase plane tickets and make other travel arrangements.
Should you book a year in advance or wait until the last minute? What is the sweet spot for booking airfare that will ensure the best rates?
We have an answer for you!
Observations by CheapAir
CheapAir monitored 4,191,533 flights in 2013 and concluded that “the best time to buy a domestic airline ticket was 54 days in advance, or 7 1/2 weeks on average.” The company also found that:
- The best time to purchase a plane ticket is 29 to 104 days before the flight
- The worst time to buy is at the last minute
- Airfare tends to drop approximately 104 days before the flight and spike about 54 days before the flight
Other factors, such as the destination, the airline, the number of tickets being purchased and the specifics of a travel itinerary, will still play a role in the cost of airfare.
Kayak has also recently done some research on this topic. The 2015 Travel Hacker Guide, which is based on over a billion searches from travellers leaving from North America, found that the booking window with the lowest fares was four to six weeks before departure.
The guide also has booking suggestions based on the destination:
- Caribbean: Book two to four weeks in advance, depart on a Thursday and return on a Tuesday
- North America: Book four to six weeks in advance, depart on a Friday and return on a Monday
- Europe: Book six months in advance, depart on a Wednesday and return on a Tuesday
Perhaps the best advice is to start checking early and check regularly. Keep a close eye on ticket prices on a number of travel websites, and if tickets drop to a price you are comfortable with, book your ticket.
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