There are lots of myths about the best time to buy an airline ticket at the best price. Recently, CheapAir.com crunched the numbers on 560 million ticket purchases to separate fact from fiction.
Let me cut to the chase: Generally speaking, the best time to buy a domestic ticket is 49 days in advance. But since ticket prices go up as seats get sold, there are plenty of exceptions, according to CheapAir CEO Jeff Klee. Sometimes the cheapest time is 331 days before a flight, when seats go on sale, and sometimes it’s the day before the flight if there are lots of unsold seats.
But generally you’ll pay the most if you’re looking for a ticket within 14 days of travel. The sweet spot seems to between 21 and 109 days out—Klee said CheapAir found only a $17 swing in prices during that period.
Conventional wisdom that Tuesday is the best day to buy a ticket isn’t true, adds Klee. It’s the day you fly, not the day you buy that determines savings. Cheapest days to fly are Tuesday or Wednesday, and the most expensive days to fly are Friday and Sunday.
Oh, and when it comes to the most popular travel time of the year, Thanksgiving, you’ll pay the least if you book 14 weeks in advance.