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The Best Day to Book Flights: Myth or Reality?

The quest for the best day to book flights has long intrigued travelers. Conventional wisdom suggested that prices peak on weekends and that waiting until Tuesday to book flights could yield savings. But is this advice still valid in today’s market?

Debunking the Tuesday Booking Myth

Airfare has indeed become more expensive, with flights from major U.S. airports costing 29% more on average in 2023 compared to 2021. Given this increase, finding the best time to book flights can significantly impact your travel budget. USA TODAY consulted three major travel platforms—Expedia, Hopper, and Google Flights—to uncover the truth about the best day to book flights.

The Best Day to Book Flights: Myth or Reality?
Source: Flyopedia.com

Contrary to popular belief, both Hopper and Google Flights found that the specific day of the week when you book your flight has minimal impact on cost. According to their data, flights booked on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays are only 1.9% cheaper than those booked on weekends over the past six years. This data remains accurate as of June 2024, confirming that the savings are marginal at best.

Hayley Berg, Hopper’s lead economist, emphasized that there is no golden rule for the best day to book a flight. “The best day and time to book a flight depend on various factors,” she explained. Hopper’s analysis showed that Tuesday was the cheapest day only 1% of the time. Therefore, while the best price might occasionally be available on a Tuesday, it could just as easily be available on another day.

Surprising Insights from Travel Platforms

Despite the consensus, Expedia’s 2024 Air Travel Hacks report offered an unexpected recommendation: book your flight on the weekend, specifically on Sunday. This contradicts the traditional advice but is backed by substantial data.

Christie Hudson, an Expedia travel expert, revealed that travelers saved an average of 13% when booking on Sundays compared to Fridays, the most expensive day. These findings were based on billions of data points from the Airlines Reporting Corporation and OAG, a global travel data platform. While this insight provides a helpful guideline, it’s crucial to note that other factors influence airfare prices far more significantly than the day of the week.

Effective Strategies to Save on Airfare

To maximize savings, consider using tools like Hopper or Capital One Travel to monitor flight prices. For domestic flights, aim to book between one and three months before departure, and for international flights, book between four and five months in advance. Berg warns against last-minute bookings, as prices can surge by hundreds of dollars in the final weeks before departure.

The Best Day to Book Flights: Myth or Reality?
Source: The Economic Times

Expedia’s report also highlights the importance of timing your purchase. Travelers who buy their domestic flights 28 days in advance save an average of 24% compared to last-minute bookings. Furthermore, the day you fly can significantly affect costs. Hopper found that flying midweek (Tuesday or Wednesday) rather than on weekends can save travelers an average of 18% on domestic summer airfare. For international flights, the savings are even greater. For instance, flying to Europe on a Tuesday or Wednesday can save $435 per ticket.

Google Flights corroborates these findings, noting that flights on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday are, on average, 12% cheaper than those on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

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