It seems that nowadays, finding the cheapest days to fly is an arduous task, and only the most patient travelers are able to snag reasonable airfare deals. Even if you scour the internet for the best tips, you will soon find a myriad of misleading information, but one universal maxim is that airfares are on the rise.
Now don’t despair; airfares are not fixed. They fluctuate constantly, and knowing when to pounce can make all the difference in the world. Imagine saving a couple of hundred dollars on your flight; not only will you keep your savings account in order, but you could set yourself up for a more memorable journey with more activities to enjoy and more places to visit after arriving at your destination.
So let’s bust a myth right off the bat. Is it really cheaper to book a flight on Tuesdays or Wednesdays? Well, not entirely. While many vloggers and travel experts will perpetuate this myth, we are here to share only the best practices you should adopt when booking your flights.
So without any further ado, let’s look at how you can find the cheapest days to fly without spending too much time in front of the computer.
Factors That Impact Flight Prices
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of landing cheap airfare, let’s explore what makes up your ticket price. First things first, flights vary based on the season. For instance, if you are flying during peak flight months, July to late August, you will likely pay through the nose for your planned itinerary. However, if you opt to fly in off-peak months, anywhere from January to November (excluding December, as booking holiday flights tends to be extremely expensive), you can save upwards of thousands of dollars.
In addition to that, we are all aware of the impact fuel prices have on our everyday lives, and travel is no exception. Fuel prices have spiked in the United States and are currently at record highs. Even when adjusted for inflation, they’re, on average, at levels rarely seen in the last 50 years, including during the energy crisis of the late 1970s. Consequently, to ensure profitability, airlines increased their prices.
But besides that, competition among airlines, airport fees, and security taxes all add up and form the sticker price you must pay to board your flights.
Are Prices Cheaper for Certain Days of the Week
Sadly no. You might find numerous articles online and vlogs spilling the beans on the topic of “What Are the Cheapest Days of the Week to Fly?” but they are all misleading and clickbaity.
In reality, there are no golden days that will save you a lot of money, or at least that’s when it comes to booking. Many misinterpret the early-week rule and advise booking flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
While it’s true that airlines roll out new booking options and promotions early in the week, who’s to say that you can’t find a dirt-cheap flight heading overseas on other days of the week? But, all in all, we are sorry; there’s no golden rule you can follow when it comes to booking a flight. But what about jetting off on certain days?
What Are the Cheapest Days to Fly?
Booking a flight on a Tuesday might not offer a significant discount. However, finding a flight that departs midweek can result in substantial savings. Yes, you’ve understood correctly: target flights that leave on Tuesdays or Wednesdays and avoid weekend flights, which often come with a steep price tag that no traveler wishes to pay.
Get a pen and paper and sketch out the entire week. Dismiss Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and you’ll be left with the cheapest days to fly. Google Flights, a reliable travel aid, can help you identify flights departing on these days.
Keep in mind that affordable flights can become available at any time during the week. Therefore, limiting your search to just two specific days might not yield the best results for your travel experience.
Cheapest Days to Fly in America
If flexibility is on your cards, exploring the Americas on a budget is best done on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. As a matter of fact, this is backed up by Google Data in an article stating that flights on those particular days are cheaper by around 1.9%. Now, that number is marginal, and if a flight comes on your radar, book it; don’t wait for a Tuesday to come and have your ticket swooped up by other eager travelers.
Off-peak days are a serious traveler’s cheat code. The main reason for this is that most frequent flyers—businessmen and businesswomen—fly out on Monday, or sometimes even the weekend, and airlines are eager to fill the seats on mid-week flights.
What this ultimately results in is cheaper flight deals for flexible travelers who don’t mind packing their bags and jetting off on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
Cheapest Days For International Flights
The same rules apply if you want to take to the skies and head overseas. But bear in mind that international travel is always pricier than domestic flights. A flight heading from New York to Florida will only set you back less than $100, even if you are booking in the last-minute window (21 days before departure), while a New York to Dubai flight comes with a wallet-draining price of $1400 and upwards.
The best all-around strategy when it comes to booking flights is to fly off-season and ensure that your flight is booked months in advance. How far in advance? The golden rule states that travelers should try to narrow their flight search to flights that are 3 to 6 months away from departure.
How to Get the Best Deals
Every booking journey should start with the best flight search engine. Now, there might be certain flight search engines that you are partial to, such as Skyscanner, Momodo, Kayak, Expedia, and so on, but none of them trumps the features that Google Flights sports.
And while we are at it, let’s share a fact that very rarely gets brought up. Expedia, Kayak, and Momondo are online travel agencies. Although they do act as flight search engines, OTAs are known to purchase flight tickets and then sell them at a markup. And even if that’s not always the case, going for a search engine that is built purely to help adventurers find cheap flights—yes, we are talking about Google Flights—is the way to go.
On Google Flights, you can tailor your experience to the T. If you want to preview only business class flights, go ahead and adjust the filters to correspond with your preferences. Or, if you want to be a conscientious flier, you can pick the flights with the least environmental impact.
Overall, Google Flights is extremely easy to use; however, if you master it, you’ll have no problem finding cheap flights in a fraction of a second. And that’s where we come in. You can check out our comprehensive Google Flights guide and become a master at finding dirt-cheap airfares with the help of the Google Explore feature, the intuitive flight price graph, and so much more.
But just using Google Flights is not the only trick that you should have up your sleeve; let’s check out what you should avoid and how to better strategize your itineraries.
Why You Should Avoid Booking at the Last Minute
It’s simple: as the departure day looms, airlines will either allow prices to soar or dip if they want to fill seats and ensure profitability.
Therefore, while the allure of a spontaneous trip may tempt you to book a last-minute flight, it’s important to consider the potential pitfalls of this approach. Last-minute bookings result in higher prices, particularly for popular tourist spots during peak travel periods.
The selection of flights available to you may also be limited, with many flights sold out or only available at inconvenient times. Additionally, the rush of booking last minute can leave you with inadequate time to plan and prepare for your trip, leading to additional stress and unexpected expenses.
Meanwhile, booking your flight early allows for thorough trip planning and preparation. It opens up a wider selection of flights and can even result in significant savings if you can take advantage of early-bird discounts offered by some airlines. However, this approach does require a degree of certainty in your travel plans, as changes may incur additional costs.
The decision between booking early or at the last minute ultimately depends on your individual travel needs and preferences. You have to know that airlines will try to capitalize on travelers that have to get from point A to point B in a pinch, and most of the time, it works out for them as businessmen and businesswomen need exactly that.
Traveling During Shoulder Season
The “shoulder season” refers to the time periods between the peak and off-peak seasons in the travel industry. It typically falls in the spring and fall, when crowds are smaller, prices are typically lower, and the weather is still generally good.
Traveling during the shoulder season can have several advantages:
- Less crowd: Since it’s neither the peak nor off-peak season, there are typically fewer tourists. This can result in a more relaxed and personal experience.
- Lower prices: Airfare, accommodations, and other travel-related costs are often cheaper during the shoulder season. This can make your trip more affordable.
- Moderate weather: While the weather can vary, the shoulder season often has milder weather than the peak summer or winter months.
- More availability: With fewer people traveling, there’s often better availability for accommodations and activities.
- Local experiences: Since the crowds are smaller, you might have more opportunities to interact with locals and have more authentic experiences.
However, there could also be some drawbacks. Some attractions may have reduced hours or be closed entirely during the shoulder season. The weather could also be less predictable than during peak seasons. As with any travel plan, it’s important to research and prepare accordingly.
The shoulder season varies depending on the destination, as it often relates to the area’s climate and tourism patterns. Here are a few examples:
- Europe: The shoulder seasons often occur in the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October). Traveling during these times can mean fewer crowds at popular destinations like Rome, Paris, and Barcelona. The weather is also usually quite mild.
- Caribbean: The shoulder season is typically in late spring (April to June). This is after the winter high season but before the hurricane season starts in earnest.
- Southeast Asia: The shoulder season usually happens right before and after the monsoon seasons. However, this can vary greatly depending on the specific country and region within Southeast Asia.
- Ski Resorts: For ski resorts, the shoulder season would be early December and late March to April, when there are fewer crowds but still decent snow.
Avoiding The Holiday Season
In 2022, the holiday season witnessed a notable surge in airfare prices due to increased demand and airlines reducing their services. The travel platform Hopper predicted that airfares for Thanksgiving and Christmas would reach a five-year high, with domestic round-trip tickets averaging $350 during Thanksgiving and $463 at Christmas.
Compared to the same month in the previous year, airfares experienced a significant 43% increase in October.
Nonetheless, these festive occasions are when everyone desires to reunite with their loved ones, and we’re willing to go the extra mile to ascend those airstairs.
To help you navigate the major holiday season with less stress, here are some practical tips we’ve compiled:
- Travel on non-peak days: Consider departing on a weekday or catching an early morning or red-eye flight when airports are less busy.
- Choose smaller airlines: Smaller, regional airlines often have less traffic and fewer delays.
- Book directly: Avoid third-party platforms and book directly with the airline for better customer service in case of issues.
Best Affordable Airlines to Fly With
The “best” airline depends on what you prioritize (price, comfort, customer service, etc.) and your specific travel needs. Of course, there’s a difference between one airline and another. Some offer incredible on-flight services but are quite expensive, while others offer more reasonable prices without sacrificing too much in terms of comfort and quality.
So if you can allow yourself to sacrifice a little bit of legroom, finding the cheapest days to fly is a breeze with budget airlines.
A few budget-friendly airlines to consider for your travels are:
- Transavia France
- Southwest Airlines (Flight search not available on Google Flights)
- Sun Country Airlines
Additional Tips For Finding Cheaper Flights
As passionate globetrotters who are perpetually gripped by insatiable wanderlust, we understand the ongoing quest for affordable flight options is unending. Fortunately, our shared love for travel connects us on this mutual journey.
Consequently, we’re eager to share an extended list of lesser-known strategies that seasoned travelers have discovered to secure bargain flights.
How does getting the cheapest flight deals in your inbox sound? Amazing, right? By signing up for price alerts, you will never worry about missing out on incredible flight deals. There are two ways you can orchestrate this strategy.
The first and best one is to sign up for Matt’s Flights price alert services, which are completely free. And, if you like the offers we compile for you weekly, consider signing up for our premium services and getting your entire itinerary planned out by us.
The other option is to manually set up price tracking with the help of Google Flights. All you have to do is input your departure and destination airports, and you are golden. As soon as prices dip or rise, you will receive an alert in your inbox. However, for the feature to work, you need to be logged in with your Gmail account.
When you come across a good deal online, don’t think twice; book it and ask questions later. Some flight deals that airlines launch can be gone within minutes, and waiting for prices to drop for a particular destination can leave you without a means to get there.
Luckily for you, almost all airlines waive cancellation fees as long as 24 hours do not elapse after the booking. So as soon as you find a flight, book it, and then see whether it fits your travel plan.
Airlines With Flexible Changes and Cancellation Policies
As stated above, all of the major airlines have waived cancellation fees. However, the most notable ones that offer such a service are:
American Airlines: There are no fees for domestic flight changes. For international flights, short-haul routes and select long-haul routes departing from North or South America are also free of change fees, except for basic economy fares. Ineligible flights may incur fees of up to $750. If a non-refundable airline ticket is canceled, the unused value can be applied toward a future trip within 1 year from the original ticket issuance date.
Delta Air Lines: Changes to domestic flights are free of charge, excluding Basic Economy tickets, which cannot be changed. International change fees can be up to $500 for other routes or Basic Economy tickets. If an itinerary is canceled and an e-credit is received, you can redeem it further down the line.
United Airlines: Flight changes within the U.S., between the U.S. and Mexico or the Caribbean, and international flights originating in the U.S. are free, excluding route-dependent Basic Economy fares. If a non-refundable ticket is canceled, the reservation may be utilized up to a year after the issue date, although change fees may apply.
Remember that these policies can vary depending on the fare class of the ticket and the terms at the time of purchase. Always check the specific terms and conditions on the airline’s official website or with their customer service before making a booking.
Flexibility on Dates, Airports, and Destinations
When planning your travel itinerary, maintaining flexibility on your dates, airports, and destinations can significantly enhance your experience and potentially save you money. By being open to different travel dates, you can avoid peak times and potentially find cheaper flights.
Flexibility with airports can also be beneficial, as exploring options with nearby airports might yield less expensive or more convenient flights. Additionally, being adaptable about your destination can open up a world of possibilities.
You might discover a less-known yet equally captivating city or country that offers a unique experience. Open Google Flights and type in your departure destination. From there, all the airports servicing the area will be displayed, and you can freely find which one fits your budget best.
Overall, embracing flexibility in these areas can truly transform your travel experience, making it more affordable and diverse.
We can safely conclude that finding the cheapest days to fly in 2024 like a savvy jet-setter is a multi-faceted endeavor that depends on various factors. While there is no guaranteed ‘golden day’ to book a flight, departing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays often results in substantial savings.
In addition, utilizing an efficient flight search engine such as Google Flights can enhance your potential savings, ensuring that you secure your seat without an exorbitant outlay. And if these tips do not satisfy your hunger, you can check out our other article, which will equip you with even more actionable tips for choosing the best and cheapest days to fly in 2024.
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Photo By: Jerry Zhang
Why Gas Prices Are So High by New York Times
Holiday Flights Ticket Price Rise by NBC News
How to find the best deal on your next flight by Google