Best Time to Buy an Airline Ticket

airplane travelWhat’s the best time of day and week to buy an airplane ticket?

According to Peter Greenberg, it is “Wednesday at 1 a.m., just one hour after Tuesday midnight,” in the timezone where the airline’s booking center is based.

Why? “At midnight Tuesday, all the discount fares that weren’t purchased [earlier that week] come flooding back into the airline’s computer systems. And that’s when you strike.” But you need to do it over the phone and not online. Watch the video below.

According to Brian Williams on NBC News, the best time is Tuesday at 3:00pm when airlines discount their fares and the competitors match prices. Start looking at airfares 3 months before you want to travel. Buy at least 7 days before the day of travel, and preferably 2, 3, or even 7 weeks before. The cheapest days to travel are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. The most expensive day to travel is Sunday. Sometimes, you can save up to 50% with a connecting flight rather than non-stop.

Here are a few other tips from Greenberg:

  • Don’t buy too early. ”Unless you are planning travel for high-traffic days, like Christmas or July 4, you stand the best chance for the lowest possible fare 45 days out for domestic travel and 60 days out for international.”
  • Travel on off days. Business travelers are likely to fly Sunday night or Monday, and then again on Fridays. Holidays often dictate peak travels days as well. “Flying midweek is often an effortless way to save money, and that’s when you’ll often find emptier and cheaper seats.”
  • Consider the time of the month. Book flights after the 7th of the month because “booking is busier right after payday on the first and 15th.”

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