The Best Time to Buy a Flight is 54 Days Out…Or Is It?

If you’ve spent any amount of time shopping for flights, you probably know that airfares change a lot. Airlines will tell you that the price fluctuations are based on meticulous real-time calculations to match supply and demand, but to travelers the ups and downs seem random, totally unpredictable, and utterly without rhyme or reason.

when to buy flights 2016

Whether there is really a method to the madness or not, everyone just wants to know one simple question: when is the best time to buy an airline ticket?

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To answer that question, we looked at 1,336,030,117 air fares (that’s about 1.3 billion) as part of our annual air fare study. Since “it’s complicated” doesn’t make for a very good headline, we’ll start by focusing on a bottom line number, and that number is 54 days. That was, on average, the best number of days in advance to buy a flight in 2015, for travel within the U.S.A.

The reason it’s a little more complicated than that, though, is that every trip is different. While 54 days in advance might have been the average best time to buy based on everybody’s trips last year, that doesn’t mean it will be the best time to buy for your trip this year.

when to buy airfare

In our study we looked at 2,926,668 “trips”. That’s just under 3 million. We defined a “trip” as an itinerary going from Point A to Point B on a specific date with a specific return date. For each trip we looked at the lowest fare offered for that trip every day from 320 days in advance until 1 day in advance.

If you look at all 3 million itineraries, the best times to buy were all over the map (no pun intended). For a lot of them (about 13,000 in total) 54 days out was indeed the best time to buy, but for almost as many the best time to buy was 53 days out, or 52 days, or 45 days, or 60 days. In fact, for almost 30,000 trips the best time to book was actually the day the flight first went on sale! And for a fraction of them (a tiny, tiny fraction) it was best to book at the very last minute. Looking for data on when to buy your international airline ticket? We’ve got you covered here.

book flights reminder

The point is there is just no one magic number that you can rely on to create a calendar reminder x number of days in advance and know that that day is the best day to book. We can say, though, that there are some general rules that do usually hold up (except for super-busy holiday times where all the rules go out the window.)

As you move from the time a flight initially opens for sale, to the day the flight departs, we see a pattern of how fares change – typically starting off high, slowly coming down, and then a few weeks before flight time starting to climb, with a particularly sharp increase once you’re inside 14 days.

To make this easier to understand, we’ve divided the typical booking window of a flight into 5 booking “zones” which we are labeling “First Dibs” (6 ½ – 11 months out); “Peace of Mind” (3 ½ – 6 ½ months out); the “Prime Booking Window” (3 weeks – 3 ½ months out); the “Push Your Luck” (14 – 20 days out); and “Hail Mary” (0 – 13 days out). Here is some more information on each:

CheapAir.com When to Buy Plane Tickets 2016
The “First Dibs” Zone
197-335 days out (approximately 6½ – 11 months)
Most airlines begin selling seats for flights 335 days out, or roughly 11 months in advance. In most cases, when flights first open for sale their fares are on the high side – and at some point in the future they are likely to come down. Still, the nice thing about buying flights early is that you have a full choice of flight options. All the flights are generally available so if you want a nonstop, or a flight at a specific time, you can usually have your pick if you book within this window. You also get first dibs on seat selection on most airlines which is important because fewer and fewer window and aisle seats are being made available without an extra charge. Early bookers have the best odds of snagging one of them.But these perks come at a cost. The lowest fares available for purchase 197-335 days out average about $50 more than those available during the “Prime Booking Window”, which is the least expensive time to buy.

The “Peace of Mind” Zone
113-196 days out (approximately 3½ – 6½ months)
If you don’t like the idea of paying a big premium to book in the “First Dibs” period, but you also want to relax and know your plans are firm well in advance of your trip, the “Peace of Mind” Zone might be for you. Travelers booking between 3 ½ and 6 ½ months in advance do pay a premium over the those buying in the “Prime Booking Window”, but it’s a modest premium, only about $20 more per ticket on average. And for that extra price you generally have more options to choose from, since by the time you get inside 3 months often the best flights are sold out at the lowest fares.

The “Prime Booking Window”
21-112 days out (approximately 3 weeks – 3 ½ – months)
If you’re a bargain hunter like most of us, your sweet spot is the “Prime Booking Window”, about 3 weeks to 3 ½ months in advance. We do a similar analysis every year and this window has been pretty consistent over time.Of course, 21 – 112 days out is a pretty big range –about 3 months. And we absolutely don’t want to suggest that there is no difference between buying your ticket 21 days in advance vs. buying it 112 days in advance vs. buying it at any other point in that window. During these 90 days, fares will likely fluctuate a lot. Don’t be surprised at all to see big swings, sometimes from day to day. Here’s the thing: we can’t promise you will necessarily get a good deal if you buy your ticket on any random day in this window. But we do suggest that you check fares frequently during this period because at some point during these 3 months the best fare is likely to pop up.

The “Push Your Luck” Zone
14-20 days out (2 – 3 weeks)
An interesting dynamic occurs right in the between the “Prime Booking Window” which ends about 3 weeks out and the “Hail Mary” Zone where you absolutely don’t want to be (inside of 14 days).

There is a week in the middle between 14 and 20 days out where circumstances can vary dramatically. There are times when you book in this window and you get hammered – flights are full and fares are through the roof. But other times you get lucky and there are actually some great fares comparable to the best fares offered months before. It really depends on how full the flights are.

If you’re thinking about chancing it, one very general rule of thumb is: the more popular your destination and the more popular your travel time, the less likely you are get lucky. Full flights are expensive flights. Going to New York for a week in the winter? You might find a great fare two weeks before. Going to Orlando for Spring Break? That’s much less likely.

The “Hail Mary” Zone
0-13 days out
Maybe you’ve heard a story of someone, somewhere who once booked a flight a day in advance and got a fantastic deal. And maybe you watched Aaron Rodgers throw that 42-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to Jeff Janis to force overtime in the Divisional Playoff Game against the Cardinals. But just as almost all Hail Mary passes land incomplete, an overwhelming majority of last minute fare searches end in frustration.When you book your flight within 7 days of departure, you pay, on average, just under $200 more than if you booked during the “Prime Booking” window – and you’ll probably have only one flight time to choose from if you want to avoid paying even more. When you book between 7 and 13 days out, it’s a little better, but still you can expect at least a $75 premium on the cheapest flight, and often hundreds of dollars more on the best flights.

So regardless of what you may have heard about airlines having empty seats at the last minute that they practically “give away” – don’t believe it. We’ve seen a lot of people test out that theory and it just about never ends well.

It really would be nice if buying an airline ticket was like buying almost everything else: the price is the price, you buy whenever you’re ready. But unfortunately, things don’t work that way with airline tickets. It’s a unique marketplace, more like playing the stock market than anything else. We’ll keep collecting airfare data and we’ll do our best to keep finding useful information for you. But if you’re finding the process too stressful, drop us a note with your question or call our Customer Support Desk. We’ll do what we can to make it a little bit easier.

Want to do a little more research? Check out our When to Buy Flights page for thousands of cities.

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171 Comments

  1. I liked reading your article about The “Prime Booking Window”
    21-112 days out (approximately 3 weeks – 3 ½ – months).
    But since this is for the USA market my question is…
    Do you with or without a study have a feel for if this timeline of 3 weeks – 3 ½ – months for the “Prime Booking Window” is also true for international flights bought from Europe (where I am) to the States (where I grew up – in Minneapolis)?
    Or if you do not know the market when purchasing outside the USA, how about when purchasing in the USA for international (European) travel?

    1. Hi there – Great question. We are based in North America and our data is geared toward the North American traveler (both domestic and international). Last year we recommended buying to Europe about 8.5 months out from the date you plan to travel in order to get the best price (on average). The “prime booking window” does pertain to domestic travel only. Here is a link to last year’s data on international travel – http://bit.ly/1BS9vXE, I can’t suggest this is an apples to apples comparison but it might be helpful to give you some general guidelines on how to plan to purchase.

      1. I have used CAdotcom and its sister Company Amtrav for over 15 Years – 100´s of flights – my comment is -I have never found better prices for flying from Euro to USA and then back again anywhere else on the web. Trust them – it pays.

        1. Thanks Richard! Glad you’ve found us to be of value (we also have stateside customer service advisors for your convenience!)

    1. Hi there, Very interesting question. I will put it to our data geeks hard at work over here. I know that our data is proprietary and because of the extremely competitive nature of our industry is not something we have considered in the past. Perhaps for 2017!

      1. No problems.
        Could you give us the highest and lowest SD and also the sd on day 52?
        Also, why did you pick mean and not median?

      1. When is the best time to book a group flight of 56? I call United Airlines on 8-10-16 the tickets were $277.10 per person. Now on 9-1-16 they are $385. Making reservation on a Tuesday cheaper than any other day?

        1. Hi Nicole, With a group this large, you definitely need to put your faith in the airlines directly. If they tell you that the fare is $385, that’s what it is. The problem is that with a large group flying on a regularly scheduled flight, there are a very limited number of tickets at each price point. Read this post for more: https://www.cheapair.com/blog/travel-tips/what-the-airlines-never-tell-you-about-airfares/ It’s very likely that there are lower fares available, but not for 56 people. We do not work with groups but it seems that group pricing should hold for a period of time – if you’re certain you are going to buy 56, it’s probably a good idea to get a courtesy hold placed on a block of seats. Good luck to you.

    1. Hi Bill, Last year’s data suggests that about 3 months from your travel dates will give you the best prices on flights to South American “on average.” You can read more about tips for booking international travel here: http://bit.ly/1BS9vXE

  2. I cannot get the “When to buy flights” hot button to work with the information: Leaving DFW to PUJ (Punta Cana). The “Get Information” does not trigger a line graph. Can you help me out with this? My vacation isn’t until July 17- July 23.

    1. Hi Susan, While the tool is only viable for routes within the United States, we do have a lot of information that can help you with planning. There is great information about when to buy international flights here: http://bit.ly/1BS9vXE. You’ll see that we recommend purchasing about 4.5 months from your travel dates. This is good news for you – you’re right on schedule! I might recommend you start researching now but you probably have a bit of time to play with before you buy. having said that, when you do see a fare that seems good – buy! Don’t wait for the fare to continue to drop – more often than not once a fare starts to climb it does not reverse that trend. Good luck to you!

      1. What day should I book my flight so I want to go to Boston from Tampa to Boston and I am 15 years old and fro what day should I book my flight so I want to go to Boston from Tampa to Boston and I am 15 years old and I’m going on my own what’s the cheapest

        1. Hi Brenne, As long as you are not booking during the busy Thanksgiving/winter holiday season, you can probably plan to purchase airline tickets 2-4 months before your travel dates to get the best fare. It’s always a good idea to be searching early and often to get a sense of what a fair price actually is, because depending on the route and demand for your particular dates thingscan be a bit volatile with airfare pricing. If you’re watching the fares for a few weeks, you’ll quickly get a sense for what a “good” fare looks like.

  3. for 6 months i have looked at prices day by day……seems to me if your day of travel is in the beginning part of the week rater than towards the end…..theres better deals

    1. Hi Jacci, You are correct. Weekend flights (Thursday-Sunday) often have more expensive price tags than do mid-week flights (historically the best fares are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). Hope this helps!

  4. Like to buy my ticket to London England for May month to July
    Any suggestions I am senior and going to be with my family helping
    To recover from surgery.

    1. Hi Chandrika, We actually recommend booking flights to Europe about 9 months from your travel date to get the best fare. Most of the time, once a fare starts to increase it does not reverse the trend. In addition, July and August are prime time for U.S. travelers to Europe so you can’t assume fares that you see at other times of the year will exist in July/August when demand is at its highest. I would recommend booking sooner rather than later since May is really just 2 months away. This close to your travel dates the fares are very unlikely to go down. Keep in mind, if you book with us we have a feature called Price Drop Payback that protects your price up to $100 – if the fare should go down after you buy we will issue you a credit for future travel. This isa bit of insurance that keeps our repeat customers coming back. Good luck to you!

  5. The names you chose for your 5 booking “zones” made me chuckle. They were appropriate and descriptive, making your article more enjoyable to read.

    1. Hi Pat, To be honest we always tell people that these sorts of fares are really mostly a thing of the past. The way the airlines price tickets is really an exact data science these days and without getting too technical, the airlines generally analyze previous flight data for years to come up with the exact number of seats they are likely to sell every year. In this way, it virtually eliminates the need for these fire sales. Every once in a great while you’ll hear of someone taking advantage of a fare that was deeply discounted right before the flight left but frankly (and this is what we do for a living), we hear of these things about as frequently as you hear of Bigfoot sightings (not very often at all and when we do, we often have to question the source). You’re much better off searching early and often for a flight and then implementing a strategy like the one our post lays out. If you need specific itineraries and features you’re going to want to book on the earlier side, while those of us looking for a bargain are going to be better off booking in the prime booking window. You should also keep in mind that if you book with us and the ticket price goes down after you book, you can get reimbursed up to $100 per ticket in a voucher for future travel. This is called our Price Drop Payback feature and a lot of our repeat customers love this.

  6. I’ve also heard that it’s best to purchase on a particular day of the week. I’ve commonly heard tues. is the best day to purchase a ticket. Is there any truth to this theory ??

    1. Hi Jenn, There is something to this. Not always, but much of the time, flying on the weekends Thursday-Sunday typically are going to be a higher price than flying mid-week (Tuesday and Wednesday typically having the lowest prices). I should also mention that if you book with us we have a feature called Price Drop Payback that protects your price up to $100 – if the fare should go down after you buy we will issue you a credit for future travel. This is a bit of insurance that keeps our repeat customers coming back. Good luck to you!

    1. Hi Caroline, A lot has been written about this. Certainly from a cost perspective, flying on the weekends Thursday-Sunday typically are going to be a higher price than flying mid-week. Additionally, weekend travel will have more expensive hotel prices (and sometimes minimum nights). Keep in mind, if you book with us we have a feature called Price Drop Payback that protects your price up to $100 – if the fare should go down after you buy we will issue you a credit for future travel. This isa bit of insurance that keeps our repeat customers coming back. Good luck to you!

  7. Do these windows apply to first class tickets as well? I have found some great deals but wonder if there is a best time to shop for first class tickets.

    1. Hi Larry, this data is just for Economy tickets. First Class tickets are a whole different animal. If you have found great deals, snap them up. First Class tickets that are still available at time of departure are often offered at a great discount (or upgrade). Some of the legacy airlines retain these seats for their frequent flyers. Some other airlines like Virgin America/Atlantic and JetBlue offer a First Class ticket base price that is very low already (compared to other airlines). Great question though.

  8. Does the 54-day rule work when I buy a ticket from the USA travel to China? If it’s not, how many days prior is the best time to buy? Thanks

    1. Hi Kitty, While the tool is only viable for routes within the United States, we do have a lot of information that can help you with planning. There is great information about when to buy international flights here: http://bit.ly/1BS9vXE. You’ll see that we recommend purchasing almost 12 months from your travel dates. I might recommend you start researching now but you probably have a bit of time to play with before you buy. Having said that, when you do see a fare that seems good – buy! Don’t wait for the fare to continue to drop – more often than not once a fare starts to climb it does not reverse that trend. Good luck to you!

    1. Hi Myrna, Weekend flights (Thursday-Sunday) often have more expensive price tags than do mid-week flights (historically the best fares are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). Hope this helps!

    1. Hi Grace, We actually recommend booking flights to Europe about 9 months from your travel date to get the best fare. It would help to know what your departure city is. In most cases, that 9 month rule would stick. If you were traveling from the New York City it might pay to wait a bit if only because New York has so many flights going to Europe. If you’re holding out for a sale, you might actually see one if you live in New York or New Jersey. But I would only recommend this tactic if you plan to be diligent about researching and tracking fares and you’re a bit of a gambler. Most of the time, once a fare starts to increase it does not reverse the trend. In addition, July and August are prime time for U.S. travelers to Europe so you can’t assume fares that you see at other times of the year will exist in July/August when demand is at its highest. Keep in mind, if you book with us we have a feature called Price Drop Payback that protects your price up to $100 – if the fare should go down after you buy we will issue you a credit for future travel. This isa bit of insurance that keeps our repeat customers coming back. Good luck to you!

      1. thank you that does help a bit. I will be leaving either out of Flint Mich. or Detroit Michigan and have to be in Scotland, Glaskow by 9 a.m. July 6th because that is when tour bus picks us up. Of course I am looking for the best rate, but at same time I do not want to lay over many hours ( in one case it was 23 hours) for the next flight.

  9. Why do most, if not all, airlines ask if the passenger is a “senior”? I have never found any difference in the seat price for an “adult” or a “senior”

    1. Hi Bob, The question is still asked because VERY occasionally sales are offered to seniors. Most of the time these days the best fares are going to be the economy fares, but every once in a blue moon a”senior” sale is offered. hence, the airlines ask.

  10. We would like to go in mid may from Las Vegas to Dayton Ohio.Possibly first class.Depending on price.IF the cost is out of our budget range then the least expensive !

  11. Hello, thank you for the info. I’m curious about your site? If I bought tickets say today for $300.00 and I’m flying in July don’t you offer to contact the purchaser if that price were to go down? So should I be watching the price in that’ “Prime Booking Window” or would your service track it and notify me if and when that price were to decrease? Thanks again!

  12. So best time to buy a ticket from RDU to SEA for mid August would be May or June? Do I count the days to get exactly 52, 53 or 54 days before day of travel?

    1. Hi Beth, Yes, you would just count backwards from your dates of travel. Having said that, please keep in mind this is a guide rather than a hard and fast rule. If I was in your shoes, i would probably aim for booking within the prime booking window and start keeping a close watch as you get closer to that time frame. Keep in mind, if you book with us we have a feature called Price Drop Payback that protects your price up to $100 – if the fare should go down after you buy we will issue you a credit for future travel. Best of luck to you!

  13. will like to travel to Colorado Springs, Co. around the end of May 2016 looking for and inexpensive fare for 2 senior citizens

    thanks

    1. Hi Jo, Can you share your departure airport so I can check fares for you? It would also help if I had specific dates, though I can certainly check last week in May. What is the duration of your trip?

  14. Hi Rita, Can you share specific dates with me so I can check fares? It looks like $1,000 RT (USD)/ $1340 (CAD) is about average for the month, but there may be better deals out there. I just need a bit more information from you to pull up possible itineraries.

  15. Hi when is the best time to travel from NJ/NYC to Calgary on the last week of July this year? Calgary is international, but does the data suggest a 54 days in advance window for purchasing a ticket similar to domestic flights or longer?

    1. Hi James, you’re in luck. We do actually consider Canada part of our study, so you can apply the tips and suggestions to your July itinerary. 54 days is definitely the best time to buy on average, but I would aim for the prime booking window!

  16. I love the info here, what a great website! I’m also planning to use my mileage for a trip to Maui from NJ/NYC and when is the best time to go to use my mileage. In other words, what month is the best time to get my ticket through my mileage program with the least amount of mileage spent for a ticket? I’m thinking the data can relate pricing to low season to high season which also affects mileage spent per ticket. For example, if October is low season, then a trip to Maui in October would require less mileage to get a “free” ticket from the mileage program.

    1. Hi James, Thanks for the kind words! I don’t want to overstep our areas of expertise, though. We kill it in the airfare intelligence department but mileage programs are a whole other different beast. I would recommend getting friendly with a blogger or two that specialize in the rewards program landscape. I like your train of thought, but am not sure there is any sort of correlation in high/low season and mileage program pricing. In fact, since mileage programs cater to business travel, there may be a whole other bunch of factors to consider. Good luck to you!

  17. Am I to understand that the Price Drop Payback program is only in effect if WE contact YOU about a lower ticket price? and that you DO NOT inform us of the lower price??

  18. My wife and I, both 65 and Seniors want to go from Appleton or Milwaukee to Canada. There is an airport in St. John’s, Newfoundland . We have been looking & have travel alerts out for us. The time is very flexible, but I have to be in St. John’s by Saturday, October 1st. We will be there until Oct. 11 th, but departure time & day are very flexible. We were thinking about leaving near September 26-27-28. We could leave earlier, but I would like to be in that 26-29 range for departure. Any advice would be great. Could you just answer here & to my email address. Thanks, Harry

    1. Hi Harry, since you have a bit of flexibility on your dates, we always recommend a mid-week departure date (Tuesdays and Wednesdays are typically best priced) over Sunday/Monday. You’re definitely giving yourself enough advance notice to get a good deal and setting travel alerts are a good way to track how fares are trending. You’ve also got a little bit of flexibility in your departure airport which is a good thing, It’s likely that Milwaukee will give you a better fare (larger airports with more departures often do), but you might also weigh in what the price of convenience might be for you. In any event, track both options so you can compare. Finally, if you were to decide to buy a ticket though us, we have a nifty little feature called “Price Drop Payback.” In the event that you purchase tickets and the airfare drops post-payment, we will credit you back up to $100 per ticket for future travel. It’s a little bit of extra peace of mind. Hope this helps!

  19. Did your analysis include flights to Hawaii? Since Hawaii is a popular destination almost year-round, did you see this “54 day rule” apply to Hawaii travel?

    1. Hi Ruby, Yes, all domestic destinations were included in our study. Keep in mind that the 54-day rule is more of a suggestion based on averages. Keeping an eye on the “prime booking window of 1-4 months” is usually going to get you a good fare. Great question, by the way!

  20. How do these purchase windows apply to Christmas travel? We want to go from Chicago to Puerto Plata on 12/25 or 12/26 and return after new years. Do we need to book now or is there a chance that prices will go down?

    1. Hi Michelle, Excellent question. Of course, the holidays can affect purchase windows (and often do!) We generally recommend using these posts asa guide rather than a hard and fast rule. For holiday travelers, we can also recommend tracking your itinerary (with an airfare alert tool like airfarewatchdog.com) early and often so you can see hoe fares are trending. Traveling ON Christmas is usually a good idea to get the best fare and easy-to-navigate, emptyish airports so kudos to you for making that move!

    1. Do you mean which is the best day to travel during the week? Our vote is with Tuesday or Wednesday. Thursdays and Sundays are the worst for affordability (weekends tend to see more congestion in airports).

  21. Hi. I’m planning to fly to Rio, Brazil on September 1st this year. I’m not sure if fares will be about the same or higher at that time due to the Olympics. Should I wait it out or buy now?

    1. Hi Tessa, The Olympics are ending on August 21st so by September 1. I wouldn’t worry terribly about the Olympics affecting the fares. Waiting is not a good strategy for international fares. To buy your ticket to Brazil, it would be a good idea to start monitoring fares now and then plan to buy when the fares start a steady climb or sharp dip. Basically any movement in fare trends is an indicator it is time to buy. We are about to publish a study that will give specific timelines for purchase based on region of travel. For a country like Brazil (that also has travel levels affected by Zika), it might be wise to wait a bit longer since sale fares may come into play. Good luck to you.

  22. I’m heading from Chicago ORD to SNA or LAX November 1-5. I missed a $177 round trip on American to SNA that was up a few weeks ago, and from then until yesterday the price was up to $277 – and today it’s $333! Should I just be patient and hope that something will come up later? Based on the “Best Times” link that would be 16-78 days out for SNA, and about the same for LAX, but as it’s already fluctuating so much I’m getting a bit nervous! And yes, I’m kicking myself for missing that fare 🙂

    1. Hi Julia, It is really hard to say. The fare does seem quite volatile this far out from travel. Early November is usually a pretty inexpensive time to fly. I think it’s probably safe to wait a bit. Typically 2-4 months out will get you good fares – you may not see something as low as $177 again. Otherwise, you could just be conservative and take the $333 fare. There’s always the chance that fares will continue to rise, and you’ve already been burned once.

      1. Thanks; I think I will try to wait it out – I may not see $177 again, but hopefully something below $333 will be out there! I appreciate the response.

  23. I am flying to Las Vegas Aug 26-29, but have several airport options. I can do round trip from GSP, CLT, or ATL. Currently, the cheapest prices seem to be out of ATL, but convenience may make CLT my best option. My question is should I book now, or try to wait it out into the prime booking window? The better flight options seem to have increased over the past several weeks and stabilized, so I want to book but not miss a potential deal. Any suggestions are much appreciated!

  24. Is there a different chart for the best time to book if flying from the US to an international destination?

  25. Great article! Based on my flying experiences, I agree with your analysis. Here’s a question for you, though- what do you think about the idea that you should clear your browsing history and cache when frequently checking fares? Is there any merit to this practice? Thanks.

  26. Hi, I really want to buy my tickets now for my husband and I. We planning a Vegas trip out of Fl. But I’m hoping the price will drop more from $400.00 each. Trip date will be 8/26-8/29. Should I hold off until June before buying?

    1. Hi Charlene, Here’s the thing. Your question is actually a little tricky. You might wait a bit longer to see if fares go down, because Las Vegas in August is not usually crazy busy (the heat turns some people away). But you are looking to fly on the weekend, which is going to cost you extra in flights and hotels. Mid-week trips to Vegas are ALWAYS much more affordable, especially for hotel rates. I would monitor airfares for a bit longer and plan to buy soon, if you don’t have flexibility to change to a mid-week trip.

  27. Hi – I am looking to buy a trip from Newark to Houston from 19Aug-29Aug2016. Can you advise on the best time to buy? Should I hold off a bit longer? Also, can you advise on the following.

    1. A lot of people have asked but haven’t really gotten an answer. There has been a rumor that Tuesdays are the best day to BUY tickets (not to depart, etc. which you have already answered that Tuesday/Wednesday departures are usually cheaper), but does the actual day of the week that you make your purchase have any affect? For instance, say I want to fly out on 19Aug (which is a Friday). Would purchasing my ticket on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. affect the ticket price more so than if I made the purchase on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday?

    2. Are there fluctuations in price for the time of the flight? I noticed a few days ago that the 11am flight did not have a premium, but now today it does have a premium. Thoughts on that?

    1. Hi Joe, Yes we are aware there are experts in the industry who advise to buy on Tuesdays because the airlines historically announced sales on Tuesday. We believe this is no longer relevant for any number of reasons. The airlines publish sales on a much less regimented schedule, but perhaps more importantly, with the advent of applying complex algorithms to pricing structures, sale fares are constantly in flux. We do know from analyzing our own in-house sales data that traveling on the weekend is more expensive than flying mid-week. Many factors affect price and, yes, time of day can be one of them. Early morning and late night flights tend to be less expensive and nonstops tend to be at a premium (flights with layovers are less attractive).

  28. We are trying to get an airfare to Miami or Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 23 and/or Dec. 24th. We have 7 people flying out of Washington, D.C., and 5 people flying out of Syracuse, New York. I checked the prices of flights in April, and as I have been checking for the past 6 weeks, the flights have gotten higher and now are outrageous. We do not know if we can hope that the price of the tickets might go done in the Peace of Mind Period, or if that is only for non holiday travel. We are ready to purchase our tickets, but we need to get the best fare. We are going on a cruise, which leaves on December 24 and returns on Dec. 31. I would appreciate any suggestions, as I am really starting to panic. We have 2 seniors, and 5 kids in the group, and a 20 hour drive is out of the question. One of my daughters has looked at some site that shows that there are still plenty of seats on the flights for those days, but that does not keep them from continuing to escalate the prices. We do not care what airlines we fly on.

    1. Hi Patricia, We understand how frustrating the fluctuations in fares can be. It’s true, the guidelines we set out in our post are an average of all fares over the year and the holidays tend to be a completely different animal. Add in the fact that holiday cruises are very popular, and it’s true. The airlines are well aware that demand for the tickets will be there for the holidays and they adjust their fares accordingly. In addition, you have a large number of people flying from each gateway. Sometimes the airlines have as few as 5 seats at a particular price point. I would try searching for individual tickets – see if the fares drop at all. It’s great that you are considering FLL. It looks like flights out of BWI and Syracuse for those dates are hovering arounf $500. That may be the best you are going to see. You could watch and wait, but that;s a pretty serious gamble. Good luck to you.

  29. Do you have any specific info about flying cheap from Northern CA (my zip is 95356) to Honolulu, HI. We want to go in June or July and today is 5/20/16. Thanks.

    1. Hi Ramina, Flights from San Francisco to Honolulu are going to offer the best prices. Flights from San Jose look to be around $600-650 round trip for somes dates in July, while there are flights for $500-550 from SFO.

  30. Good day. I am traveling from Denver to Orlando during the Christmas season. Actually planning on leaving Christmas day. Tickets to Orlando have been around the $215 to $250 range. Coming back the 31st about $250 range. Is it too early or over the next month or two would you expect them to drop a bit. The better seats for the lower price of course are the lest desirable being leaving at 8am…. Also Frontier hasn’t posted yet. Would they create some competition for a bit when theirs post?
    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks,

    1. Hi Josh, Normally I would advise waiting until we are about 6 weeks or so out from travel but you’re traveling at Christmastime. I wouldn’t think Denver to Orlando will drop much lower than you are already seeing ($215-250 is very good). If you’re really a bargain shopper, waiting for Frontier to publish their fares might not be a bad gamble, but keep in mind they have gone the way of Spirit Airlines and are now an a la carte service. Basically, you’re just paying for a seat when you buy with Frontier now (set assignments, baggage, carry-ons, etc. is all extra).

  31. I am driving myself nuts trying to get affordable air fare from MSP to FLL leaving 1/14/17 and back on 1/22/17 (we’re going on a cruise ). When would be the best time to purchase it? I will need to upgrade to get extra leg room for tall husband.

    1. Hi Mary, If you read our post you probably saw that we put the best time to get the lowest fare on AVERAGE at about 54 days out from your travel dates. But when you have specific preferences for seats, you are better off buying much earlier because there are a limited number of seats with extra leg room even available on any given flight. And more and more consumers are opting in for upgrades (because of shrinking standard seat sizes, primarily). We suggest taking the calm, cool approach and deciding what is more important to you.If you MUST have extra leg room, it may be worth it to spend a bit extra earlier in the process to secure those popular seats. If it’s a preference, but you’re willing to forego the extra room for the cheapest seats it might be worth it to you to wait. Sorry there isn’t a more specific answer for you – but try not to stress! The best plan of action is always based on what is most important to YOU.

  32. Hi, my family of four doesn’t travel very much. We are looking to travel December 17th or 18th through the end of the month to Orlando. Should I follow the “52 days out” to find the best deal or because it’s travel during the holidays should I purchase earlier than the 52 days? Thank you.

    1. Hi Cheryl, You are correct to treat the holiday season (ESPECIALLY Christmas week) as a totally different animal. 54 days out is definitely not going to get you the best fares to Orlando in December. Orlando is something of an evergreen destination and sees quite a lot of cruise business during the holidays. You should be seriously searching already – plan to book as soon as you see a fare that looks good. I could give you a bit more specialized advice if I knew your departure airport. But for a family of 4, traveling Christmas week, the advice is always going to be to book early. Good luck to you!

    1. Hi Tina, I think it all depends on what you consider “best.” Are you looking to buy the cheapest tickets? Then buy them in the winter when Pensacola is cold and the tourists looking for beach weather are staying away. If you’re looking for the best weather, most Panhandle residents will tell you that anytime in the spring through fall is great (you just want to keep an eye on the weather in June through November when it’s hurricane season as well).

  33. Hi Could advise when would be the best time to buy tickets from LAX to DCA in Nov. Planning a trip 4 ppl. the first week of Nov. Tickets are now around a 900-1000 Dollar mark , this is to travel on 6th nov. day time.

    Also advise on best time to book tickets from Toronto to LAX. (Nov 12th Travel)
    Thank you

  34. Best time to book a fare from Seattle to Charleston for an over-Christmas visit? We are taking about 3 weeks altogether, so can get in before Christmas rush and wait to return till it’s over.

    1. Hi Deirdre, it’s a great idea to avoid the holiday rush and buy outside of the last week in December/1st week in January. We are going to be posting our 2016 advice in the next few weeks- more to come then!

  35. Hi looking to fly round trip Jax to Hts and back. July 14th evening and back either sat or Sunday July 16/17. I wasn’t able to book the one for $272 today, do you think the flights will drop back down as they are now up to around $430.

    1. Hi Missy, It’s really hard to say if the fares will go back down once they start to climb, but this close to your travel dates I wouldn’t hold my breath. It sounded like you might have seen $272 recently? Unfortunately, once a good fare gets published everyone who is watching that route starts making decisions. There’s usually about 8-10 seats on a plane at any one given fare. My guess is that the particular fare you wanted sold to a few buyers.

  36. I’m looking to buy round trip tickets for 7/19/16 from GSP to SAN. Returning on 7/23/16. Is now the best time to purchase tickets for the best rates?

    1. Hi Lisa, the best prices I’m finding are all right around $420-450. These prices are not going to go down, and will probably continue to climb. Our best advice would be to buy your tickets sooner rather than later. July is the busiest (and most expensive) month in the summer to travel. Good luck to you!

  37. When would you suggest a flight from Florida to Las Vegas for Christmas, considering it’s a popular destination and a popular time frame? Or should I just bite the bullet and book whatever I can ge

    1. i Sheila, The good thing about Las Vegas as a destination is that it’s usually a good deal, even for the holidays. I’d suggest booking your hotel rooms sooner than later, because the hotel costs (usually very reasonable), will increase the closer you get to the holidays and you don’t want to overpay for accommodation. You can probably wait a bit to buy your airline ticket but do start watching airfare and plan to buy when you see a good fare. Good luck to you.

  38. Hi There,

    I love your site, very informative and honest, much appreciated! I’m going with my family of seven from LAX to Detroit, and we must leave on a red eye on Nov. 2nd (two flight options that night) and return in the early afternoon of Nov. 7th (two options that afternoon), and must fly on Delta because they’re the only ones that fly non-stop between these two cities (I don’t count Spirit because they only have one flight a day and it’s such a crummy airline). I’ve seen your articles from past years where you suggest not waiting too long to buy tickets if we meet all the above criteria (narrowing our options down to exact days/times, have more than three people in our group, want a specific airline, etc). I’ve been checking Delta’s website for the past few months, and today’s fares seem to be the lowest I’ve seen yet, only $373 round trip (or $451 for Comfort level). We’re now about 86 days away from our departure date…do you think it will go much lower than this? Would it pay to wait another week or two and see if it goes lower? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jason, We’re working on an article right now about this very thing. Here’s the problem – now that you’ve been following fares and have seen “the lowest…seen yet, only $373 round trip), that sounds VERY good. In fact, waiting might really be a bad call. Here’s why. You DO have specific flights/dates/airlines in mind and you’re looking at finding tickets for 7. If you see a good fare, we always err on the conservative side and say, buy! While it’s certainly possible you might eke out an additional $10-20 less a ticket for waiting, it’s MUCH moe likely that other people also watching fares are going to hop on these good fares and in a couple of days you might be looking at additional $10-20, or even heaven forbid $100 more per ticket. When you see a good price we can’t stress it enough, buy, buy, buy! We do have our “price drop payback” feature. If you buy with us it protects your ticket up to $100 in case your flight does continue to go down. Good luck to you!

  39. I am planning a trip to Denver CO from Miami FL on February 07, 2017 to February 11, 2017. Around how much should i be expecting to pay for a really good deal? and also is there a prime booking window for hotels? If so how many days before?

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Bryan, We WISH there was a prime booking window for hotels. Instead, hotels are their own animal. You’ll get better rates at hotels that cater to a leisure traveler if you book during the week. Hotels that cater to a business traveler are usually cheaper on the weekend. Every market is different so it’s hard to say what a good flight deal is for Denver to Miami. It looks like anything around $200 is the best fare going for that time of year right now – our best advice is always going to be to search early and often, but plan to buy in the “prime booking window” around 1-4 months from your travel dates.

  40. Hello,

    When is the best time to get a ticket from Minnesota to cameroon so that I can get a cheap deal? I plan to travel this coming mid December and return early January of next year.

    1. Hi Tom, You might want to check out our post on international travel: https://www.cheapair.com/blog/travel-tips/when-to-buy-international-flights/ We are already closer than the 215 day window to get the “best” prices into Cararoon. I would also need to know which airports you were departing from and arriving to to give you the bet advice but I can make a few assumptions to give you an idea of fares. If you fly out of Minneapolis and into Douala International, the fares in mid-December are significantly more expensive than at nearly any other time (the holidays are a busy time just about everywhere it seems). A ticket that would cost you as little as $1200 on other dates is going to run you close to $2000 in mid-December. The best fare I can find with your dates in mind is leaving on Friday, December 9 and returning on Wednesday, January 11. If you can book those dates it looks like there are tickets on Delta?Air France for around $1700 round trip. If you have other airports in mind or have more flexibility on your dates, let me know. I can do a bit more research and offer other suggestions.

  41. Thanks for the feedback. I do depart from the Minneapolis-St paul international airport and arrive at the Douala International airport.

  42. I need to book a flight to disney from texas with 5 people. We are going April 22nd. When should I book? Also when you say cheaper are we talking about a lot cheaper or a few dollars?

    1. Hi Ashley, Are you booking to Orlando or Anaheim? It may not make too much of a difference for this week, since late April is still probably going to be seeing some Spring Break travel. Our best recommendation would be to start the search now and book when you see a good fare. The biggest mistake travelers make when booking airfare is sometimes seeing an attractive flight and them thinking you have time to think it over, discuss with friends and family, etc. In the meantime, someone else swoops in and snaps up those fares. Because you’re booking for a group of 5, you have a little bit less flexibility (I assume you want everyone on the same flight). If you do not need to have everyone flying together, I would search for small er number (even 1-2 tickets at a time), because it might be that there is a lower fare available for 1-2 people but not all 5.

  43. Hi, I was hoping for some advice. My husband and I will be flying from Boston to Tampa for our honeymoon and would need to fly down on December 22nd and back on December 31st. The current fares that I’ve been watching via several different websites are a bit frustrating – any chance they’re likely to go down a noteworthy amount, or should we go for it and book now? Thank you!

    1. Hi Samantha, Congratulations! And book now. You’re looking to buy at the most expensive and popular time to travel. The odds are not favorable that fares will go down around the holidays. In fact, fares tend to climb the closer we get to your travel dates. You can read about holiday fares here (and even see the best dates to be traveling): https://www.cheapair.com/blog/holiday-flights/. Christmas week tends to be very expensive, so we definitely suggest buying sooner than later.

  44. Hello cheap air does this model follow first class fights as well I’m flying from Ontario ca to Charleston sc on January 28th returning February 4th would appreciate any information.

    1. Hi Eric, Great question. Unfortunately this only applies to Economy fares. It’s a good news/bad news for you. On the one hand, we don’t have great data to tell you when you should buy, but on the other hand, there’s nowhere near as much volatility with First Class fares. Unless an airline is launching a new product or looking for some press, First Class and Business Class fares tend to stay pretty static. The only problem for the buyer (depending on the route or time of year – holidays being very busy), is that you might wait too long to purchase and there are a lot fewer First Class seats available on any given flight.

  45. We are flying one way from Ronald Reagan Airport ( DC) to Boston on Sunday November 13. We prefer non-stop and so plan to fly Jet Blue. The fares are pretty high on that day, I suspect it may be because it is Veteran’s Day week-end ??? There are still many unsold seats. Can we expect fares to drop in the next few weeks? Thank you.

    1. Hi Pamela, I see fares for under $100. That’s actually about as good as it gets so if you see a fare for $89 I would snap it up. Those are among the lowest published fares on JetBlue and certainly for nonstops (which are always a bit more expensive because of higher demand).

  46. There are two of us flying from Rochester, NY to Miami on February 18 for a cruise that leaves the following day, February 19, 2017. The cruise returns on March 5 (a Sunday) and we will be returning either on that day or on Monday, the 6th (depending on fares). We wouldn’t be adverse to flying out of Syracuse or Buffalo, if need be (instead of Rochester–however, Rochester would be our preference). We are also considering Fort Lauderdale for our final destination, if necessary (would take a ground shuttle from there to Miami). The prices now are hovering around $550 (for unattractive departure/arrival times). Do you expect the fares to decrease for flights to Miami/Fort Lauderdale during the high cruise season? When would you suggest we start seriously looking at making our flight reservations? Thank you for your expertise!

    1. Hi Lori, Glad to help. The biggest consideration from what I’m reading in your comment is the “unattractive departure/arrival times). Because you’re looking for NY to MIA flights in high season for cruising, the most convenient flights are definitely going to have higher fares (people will pay for convenience and the airlines price accordingly). The “good fares” almost always come along with less than perfect connection times or are very early /late. I would not expect fares to decrease the closer we get to cruise season and I would start looking before Thanksgiving. If you can swing it, buying in the next 6-8 weeks is almost certainly going to get you the best fares. One benefit for taking a very early flight is that it’s almost guaranteed to leave on time/not be delayed. Good luck to you.

  47. I am flying from NYC (JFK or LGA) to San Antonio 12/21, and then from Houston (IAH) back to NY on 1/2 or 1/3. is it usually cheaper to book as 2 one-ways for multi-destination flights- or book as a multi-destination?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Dina, It looks like multi-destination is going to be the way to go if price is the main consideration. I see fares on United for $450 if you are willing to take connecting flights rather than nonstops. Nonstop flights are in the $650-750 range on United as well.

  48. Hi! I’m planning a trip 6/23/17 – 7/2/17 (dates firm) from SYR (NY) to ORD (IL) best prices so far are $411 which seem very high. I know it’s travel near the 4th of July so the rules may not apply. When would you suggest I book? I need to travel after 5:00pm departing from SYR so my times aren’t as flexible. Thank you for your help. : )

    1. Hi AC, It is pretty early to be looking for fares for next year. I think it would be quite safe for you to wait until early 2017 to book this ticket. This itinerary is regularly in the $200-250 range, and I don’t think that will be very different, even this close to the 4th. I do think you should watch fares closely based on your need for the departure time to be after 5pm. Whenever you have limitations to when you can travel, you have to keep a close eye on availability.

  49. Planning a trip to Aruba this year during school vacation week here in Massachusetts. When is the best time to book, Prices were at $ 580.00 round trip 3 weeks ago and have been rising ever since. I’ve been told to wait till Dec or Jan, Should I ??

    1. Hi Mark,

      Since you’re not traveling until April, you still have plenty of time to continue to monitor the fares like you have been. In fact, monitoring the fares like you are is a great way to stay on top of the pricing so you understand what to expect and when to book when you find a low fare. Depending on how many seats you’re looking for, you may want to book sooner than later. (For example, if you’re looking for 6 seats vs. 2) April is a peak season so I would caution to not wait too too long. We suspect fares will dip back down around the holidays and into the new year. Continuing to check in on the fares and being prepared to book at any moment if you see the flights you like dropping down is a good rule of thumb. We’d definitely make sure you have your flights booked at least 90 days prior to your departure to be safe. Keep in mind, when you purchase flights with CheapAir if the price for the same itinerary goes down any time before your trip, we’ll pay you back the difference in the form of a travel voucher for up to $100 per ticket! Please let us know if you need any help with finding flights.

      Thank you for using CheapAir.com.

      -The CheapAir Team

    1. Hi Terry, Yes! You’re 100% right on this one. Our “prime booking window” takes in and averages all flights over the course of the year. High season and special events are an entirely different animal. We recommend booking flights for Mardi Gras as soon as possible (in most cases). This is an extremely popular time to travel to New Orleans, so we recommend starting your flight search early and often to get the best prices. Now would not be too soon – prices are likely to climb and sales are nearly unheard of going to New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

    1. With hotels, I would say you have much more wiggle room. In theory, you can even use apps like Hotel Tonight to get very last minute tickets at a good price.

  50. I understand 54 days before is good for cheap ticket, can u tell me what is the best time to find always empty plane to usa? May be after Christmas or exact Christmas day?

    1. Hi Eric, this data is for domestic airfare in the United States. I’m not sure what you mean by finding an empty plane to the United States. The airlines use a lot of very sophisticated tools and algorithms to predict how best to fill planes. If an airplane seems to not be selling, they will usually not run a flight at all. The airlines must be profitable, so flying empty planes is just not done.

  51. Hello – I am looking to book a flight from PHL to MIA Thursday May 11- to Sunday the 14th. Should I book as soon as possible or wait to get the best price?

    1. Hi LR, It’s a bit early now to be searching, unless you do have specific flights or preferences for your itinerary. 54 days from your departure is an average, but 2 weeks to 4 months out will usually get you the best prices. For a popular summer destination like Miami, we would suggest beginning a serious search sometimes in January 2017. Best of luck to you.

  52. We have booked a cruise from miami. We’re looking to book two tickets to miami or ft lauderdale from dallas march 10-18th fri-sat. Tickets are going for $530+. What is the likelihood of the price to go down? Since we have a strict schedule is it best to book now? We weren’t sure if this pricing was common during spring break.

    1. Hi Laura, I’m not the bearer of good news on this question, unfortunately. I wouldn’t plan on the flight prices going down at all. You’re already flying into a destination without much of a low season, and you’re also going at the height of the spring break season. Families and students are converging upon Miami and you’re also right in the middle of the cruise season (as you know). I would buy as soon as you can, the prices are not likely to go down and almost certainly will continue to climb.

  53. Planning (4) person family vacation. Preference is to Fly JetBlue direct one-way from Boston to Tampa Friday 4/14/17, currently about (115) days out. Understand the high demand for this time frame, and prices are not going to be within past price ranges.

    Based on what i see available from Jet Blue for this date:
    1. What are the chances JetBlue adds additional direct flights to the schedule ?
    2. Should I expect a significant change to the current JetBlue fares over the next (30-45) days ? There appears to be many seats available for the current flight offerings.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Michael, You are doing all of the right due diligence. Additional flights are not likely unless the current selections sell out. If flights start to sell out soon, additional flights may come on line. Of course, there is no way to know for sure if that will happen and once flights start to sell existing seats, as the plane starts to fill up the remaining seats will get more expensive. Plan to watch closely and buy as soon as you start to see incremental increases or decreases in the fare.

  54. Hi. Traveling outbound Tampa to Anchorage 6/17/17 just as peak travel summer season begins there. Looked all around your site (informative & helpful, thank you) and thinking ticket prices may come down to optimum levels by mid to late Feb, about four months out. Does that jibe with what you know about these city pairs given the seasonal factor? Three months out better? Appreciative of your help.

    1. Hi Kevin, Your instincts are spot on. Starting to look about 4 months out is a good marker, since most flights are in the pricing sweet spot from 2 weeks to 3/4 months out. June is popular, so the likelihood that fares might get better the closer to June we get is highly unlikely. Buy on the early side of the range for the best pricing.

  55. I was looking into flight from Harrisburg to San Antonio with a layover in Atlanta. I am planning to leave around 7am and arrived in San Antonio on Fri, May 19th at around 11:30am. I’m planning on returning home on sun, May 21st and land in Harrisburg at around 5:30pm. I was wondering since fares are high right now on when fares will drop to a point where I can book my flight?

    1. i Tyler, I hate to be the bearer of not-so-great-news, but it’s really hard to say just when might be the best time to buy. I’m not sure what airline you’re traveling, but when I do a general search the fares all seem to be in the $600 range. I would watch the fares closely and plan to buy when you start to see the prices go steadily up (this indicates people are buying at the current level and the likelihood of the fare dipping is low) or make a quick dip (flights were not selling at current level, so airline adjusted fare) Be careful if the dip happens – many people get caught in a trap thinking the fare went down once so it will surely go down again. Usually,that doesn’t happen because some of the other people also watching the fares will buy once it goes down a bit.

      1. Sorry, I trying to watch fares for a flight on Delta.

        But I am watching the fares very close and will book once I know the fares are acceptable. I appreciate your help.

  56. Looking to book seven tickets from PHL to DEN sometime in July. I’m thinking I should wait until the budget airlines release their schedules to see if AA drops their fares. I’m waiting on frontier to release their schedule. Do you see this impacting fares?

    1. Hi Jeff, Yes. Sometimes the budget airlines do affect the other legacy airline prices, but not as often as you might think anymore. With algorithms based on historical data (and other, somewhat mysterious data points), the airlines have really got pricing down to a pretty tight science. I would not wait too long based on the number of tickets you need – it might be tricky to get them all at the same price (some flights these days have 30+ tiers of seating). We typically tell people to buy early when they have more than 2 tickets to buy.

  57. Hi, I’m looking to go to New Orleans on 4th of July weekend June 30th to July 4th and I looked at prices and see they’re $320, based on your data I was thinking that I can buy in March, however I also don’t want to spend more than that. Do you think that’s something I should wait on or buy now. The reason I ask is because I know that flying on Friday is more and it’s a holiday weekend. I would appreciate any help you can give. Thank you!

    1. Hi Courtney, Yes, that weekend will be popular and probably very expensive. I would not wait – the fares are really not likely to go down, but they will almost assuredly go up.

  58. I was looking into flight from Perth, Australia to Brussels, Belgium.
    2 adults (one is 15 Years old) and 1 child
    Departure around June 21 or 22 19th at around 11:30am.
    Return on July 12th, 13th or 14th.
    I was wondering since fares are high right now on when fares will drop to a point where I can book my flight?
    Thanks,
    Lorraine

    1. Hi Lorraine, I apologize but CheapAir.com is a north American company/website so the bulk of our airfare data is geared toward the outbound traveler from U.S. and Canadian destinations. If you were flying from the U.S. I would advise you not to wait, as Europe is high season in June for us and fares tend to be high and not really offer much value (they don’t tend to reverse or offer sales after the first of the year). If you wanted to wait a bit to test the waters and see if fares might dip a bit, I would watch the fares very closely – and not hesitate to buy if you see fares creeping up incrementally. That’s a good sign that people are buying even at the higher fares, and the airlines keep very close tabs on these algorithms to set the fares.

    1. At the moment, the cheapest flights are on Spirit for just under $400. Spirit’s flights have connections and they are a low cost airline offering a la carte pricing (bringing bags, even getting an advanced seat assignment will cost extra). American has nonstop flights for just under $500.

  59. I would like to travel with jet blue at the end of April from San Juan to Dallas. Round trip For 3 weeks approx

  60. I am planning a trip from Oakland, CA to Maui in October. There are 9 Adults and 1 child under 2 going. I am a little nervous about waiting for Prime Booking because I would love to try and get us on all the same flight. I see now prices range from about $450.00 – Over $600 per non-stop ticket. I know October is not the most popular month to go – should I be worried? Should I wait ? Historically do you know how much plane tickets in October usually run? Also most websites don’t let you buy 9 tickets at a time – is it best to call or book two separate bookings? Any helpful hints are greatly appreciated 🙂 Thank you!

    1. Hi Tina, You are right to be nervous about waiting, especially if you all need to be on the same flight. There are very few tickets available on any given flight at one price, so what may happen is that some of you will pay one price and some of you will pay another. $450 is a very good price and if you see that price, I’d snap it up. It is probably best to book individual tickets (or in pairs) to make sure you get the best prices available.

  61. I am planning on flying from Chicago to Denver July 20 -23. Right now, the flight I am looking at is around $300 (departing 4:25pm Thurs and returning 4;30pm Sun). Every time I have flown from Chicago to Denver I have gotten my tickets under $200, even earlier this year, end January during ski season. However, this flight in July does not seem to be budging much as far as price. How much longer should i wait?

    1. Hi Jay, It’s hard to say for sure but July is a popular (and therefore more expensive) time of the year to travel. We tend to give pretty conservative advice, so we’d probably expect the fares to go up rather than dip. You could take a “wait and see” approach, and plan to hop on the fare as soon as it starts to move (in either direction). But again, the likelihood would be that it would increase rather than decrease. You can see what the entire month of July looks like here: https://www.cheapair.com/blog/summer-flights/.

  62. I am planning a trip from jfk to Las Vegas in July 27 to July 29 as right now the price are 313 from delta and JetBlue price 327. How much long should i wait to book it seem the price is going up? I wanted to book my ticket as soon as possible

  63. Hi. Great and informative site.
    Need to fly from YUL to DTW on the weekend of 8/4-8/6.
    Looking for inexpensive but convenient since I must accompany my 85 year old grandmother.
    Very few convenient, let alone inexpensive options!
    Delta has direct flights (with reserved/ticketed seats) in around the $500 U.S. range (+$650 CDN).
    Should I book now, wait til nearer the “54”? Thanks!

    1. Hi Lee, This year for our “When to Buy” report, we also indicate that 2.5 weeks to 4 months is the best range to be looking in for the best price (so you’re ahead of the game). To be honest, if you’re finding that good fares are few and far between, you’re probably not the only person. It’s always our conservative advice to book when you’re reasonably sure you’ve got a good price – the likelihood of fares going down in your case is an unknown quantity at this point, but we recommend hopping on a good fare when you see it.

  64. Getting close to day 54 for a flight to Bozeman/Jackson on 8-25. Seeing prices around $700. max. Round trip to Bozeman is cheaper but we’re looking for open jaw out of Jackson. Should I wait or just book the trip now? I hear these destinations don’t have a lot of traffic so they don’t fluctuate much. Thanks!

    1. Hi there, Definitely plan to book soon. You’re right about prices not fluctuating much into Jackson, but it does seem likely that fares will climb the closer we get to your travel dates. Waiting much inside the 3 week window would be a real gamble, especially into a popular summer destination like Bozeman/Jackson.

  65. Great article. I am looking to book a flight Dec 9 ~ 16 from GSP or CLT or ATL to FLL. I have been monitoring prices for several weeks and noticed this past Tuesday, 8/29 nearly all the flights for Delta, United, American Airlines went up from the previous week with the exception of Southwest which went down about $20 per ticket. I am wondering should I book the ticket now or wait to see if the prices change.

    1. Hi Harrison, If your flights seem to be trending more expensive, you might buy sooner rather than waiting. Our “best time to buy” is an overall average and there’s often some variation based on specific itineraries.

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