When to buy airline tickets – Based on 1.5 Billion Airfares

Every year at CheapAir we go through a little exercise.

We take a list of the top 15,000 markets where our customers live and like to fly to, and we watch fares between those cities over the course of an entire year.

When to Buy Flights

It’s actually more than a “little” exercise. In 2014, it amassed to 1.5 billion airfares as we watched 4,986,522 trips, recording the lowest fare for each trip every day from 320 days in advance up until one day before flight time. It’s a treasure trove of cool info if you’re an airfare geek; or, a curious use of terabytes, if you’re anybody else.

Since the majority of questions we get asked every year start with “When is the best time to book my flight to…”, the first thing we always do with this data is determine, on average, how far in advance should you book your flight to get the lowest fare.

This year, for domestic flights, the answer is 47 days.

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Now, if our database could talk, it might protest having to give just one number for when to buy. As we have found in years past, the average is just that: The Average. There was, and always will be, quite a variance across the five million trips we reviewed.

Here’s an example: If you happened to fly from Boston to Detroit for a seven day trip starting on February 13, there were actually some fantastic (and rare) last minute sales. In that case, booking the day before the flight was the best day to book. This is extremely rare, and waiting until the day before travel is something we never advise. At the other extreme, there were trips like Austin to Orlando, leaving on July 11 where your best bet would have been to buy 320 days in advance.

The point is, for individual trips, the best time to buy varies substantially depending on the destination, time of year, and travel days. So think of 47 days as a guide, not an exact day you should book. And on average, booking later than 47 days will always carry more risk than booking early.

Here are 5 additional pieces of advice that we are able to glean from this massive study. Keep in mind that our focus here is on domestic flights – those within the U.S. Click here for our discoveries about the best time to buy international flights.

1. When You Buy Matters

A graph of the best fare by the numbers of days booked in advance looks deceptively smooth, aside from the sharp rise once you get inside 14 days. At 320 days out when we started looking, average fares were about $50 higher than their low point. Prices dropped gradually until 47 days out (the bottom) and after that they started to rise again slowly. Once inside of 14 days they shot up pretty significantly.

But the smoothness of this graph belies the true volatility of the market. It looks smooth only because we are aggregating such a large number of individual trips. The spikes and dips even out over such a large dataset. But our study confirms that the price volatility when buying an airline ticket is more like buying a share of stock than buying something at Target. The lowest possible prices change on average 70 times during the booking window we looked at – that’s once every 4 ½ days! And even if we ignore the super-pricey booking period of within 14 days, the average difference between the best low fare and the worst low fare was a whopping $201 during the time a trip was available for sale! So the date you pick to book your flight absolutely makes a huge difference.

2. Waiting for Last Minute Deals is a Bad Idea

The easiest and most obvious conclusion we can draw is that you should buy your ticket at least 14 days in advance. The Boston to Detroit example above was an outlier. Fares are almost always more expensive at the last minute. Tickets purchased within 14 days were $111 more, on average, than those purchased further in advance; tickets purchased within seven days were $174 more. So don’t believe the myth that never seems to die that a day before flight time airlines will practically give away their unsold seats. That doesn’t happen. Give yourself 14 days advance purchase at the very least; or better yet, 21 if you can swing it.

3. Be Careful Not to Book Too Early

In years past when we looked at numbers we came to the conclusion that the worst thing you could do was to buy your ticket too late but the second worst thing you could do was to buy your ticket too early. That’s still true, but the “penalty” for buying a ticket too early is less significant than in years past.

Airlines have historically come out with really high fares when flights open for sale, let them sit for a while, and then introduce various sales a few months before flight time in a mad scramble to fill all the empty seats. But with Delta having swallowed up Northwest, United merging with Continental, Southwest buying AirTran and now American combining with US Airways, there is less competition and less capacity. Airlines don’t have to do as much scrambling. Fares still tend to be lower a few months before travel than they are 11 months before travel, but that difference is not as pronounced as it used to be. Still, on average, domestic flights open up for sale about $50 higher than their ultimate lowest price – and they typically stay that way for many months.

4. One to Four Months Out is the “Prime Booking Window”

The general pattern is that from the time a flight opens for sale, fares will drop slowly but steadily until reaching a low point somewhere between 27 days and 114 days out. That three month window, which is essentially between one and four months in advance, is what we call the “prime booking window”. Much more often than not, the best fare for a domestic trip will be offered at some point during that window.

If you don’t book within this window, it is generally better to book too early than too late. Those booking more than 114 days out paid an average of $32 more for their flight in 2014; those booking inside 27 days paid an average of $47 more (and a lot more than that if within 14 days).

5. For Summer and Holiday Travel, the Rules are a Little Different

There are important exceptions to these patterns, mostly for very popular routes during very popular times where flights tend to fill up quickly and the most optimal time to buy tends to be earlier than the normal one to four months. Hawaii is a great example; the best time to buy flights to Hawaii is usually pretty close to the time they go on sale (11 months in advance). Flights around Christmas and Thanksgiving, and warm weather trips for Spring Break, also have a different dynamic and you’re generally better off booking sooner rather than later.

In 2014, demand for air travel continued to increase and airlines kept supply in check for the whole summer. June to August began to look a lot like the special holiday seasons. For summer travel last year, the best time to book was 76 days in advance on average – almost a month earlier than the rest of the year. And the danger in booking too early was much less pronounced. Fares booked 320 days in advance were, on average, only $8 more than their low point. More than ever before, air travel has become a seller’s market, especially in the peak seasons, and the airlines don’t have to be as aggressive as they used to in order to fill all their seats. This means that the deals you see early on for peak season flights are increasingly likely to be among the best deals that will be offered.

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But It’s Not Just About Price…

It’s important to understand something about our methodology. For every booking date for every trip, we simply looked at the lowest possible fare that would have gotten you there, without regard to airlines, flight times, or number of stops. Sometimes, there are differences in the quality of flights or choices of flights that are not reflected in our numbers. For instance, there might be a situation where 80 days before a trip from L.A. to New York there were eight non-stop and 24 one-stop flight options for $350. 30 days before that same trip there might have been just one flight left at $350, a one-stop flight at 6:00am with a 2 ½ hour layover in Chicago. Based on our methodology, each of the two scenarios has the same low fare so we would have treated both as equal – and our numbers would suggest you are in a good position to wait. In reality? You would have been much better off booking 80 days out.

No matter where you’re going, it’s a pretty fair assumption that the number of options (and, therefore, the quality of those options) is highest the earlier you book. This is important for flyers who care a lot about specific flights, specific flight times, specific routes, or specific airlines. The less flexible you are with respect to these parameters, the more we advise you to book earlier than we would otherwise suggest to make sure you can get a flight that is satisfactory.

Some Additional Tips for Finding the Best Air Fares

Given everything that we’ve learned, here is some general advice on how to go about your airfare search:

– Since it’s impossible to know exactly the best day to buy an airline ticket, the best strategy is to check fares early and often. For travel during the summer or holidays, start your research as soon as you can. For other travel dates, try to check frequently in the one to four month lead-up to your travel dates. By checking often enough, you are likely to see both the ups and the downs as fares fluctuate– and you’ll be able to tell the difference and recognize a good deal.

– Aim for a good deal, not the best deal. With 70 different fare changes on average for each trip, you have to get very lucky to book your flight at their absolute rock bottom. So don’t get too caught up in trying to squeeze a few extra dollars off your ticket price. When you see a good deal, grab it since any good fare is much more likely to go up than down.

– Consider booking much earlier than the 47 days in advance if: (1) you are traveling for a holiday; (2) you are traveling during the summer; (3) you are traveling with a family or large party (three or more travelers); (4) or, you are particular about your airline, number of stops, travel times, or seat assignments and you see only a few flights offered that you’d be happy with.

– Avoid booking too early (before four months) if all of these are true: (1) you are not traveling during the summer or for a holiday; (2) you are traveling by yourself; (3) and, you’re flexible on the airline and flight times.

Final Shameless Plug

And, finally, having reached a limit on the number of words we can write without shamelessly plugging our own web site, consider CheapAir’s unique Price Drop Payback option as a way to make the ticket buying process less stressful. If you purchase with CheapAir.com we provide price protection for free – if you see a fare drop after your purchase you can get a travel credit back for the difference, up to $100 per passenger. That’s something that no other online travel agency provides and, in the crazy world of airline pricing, allows you to buy with more confidence!

Start your flight search

194 Comments

  1. This article on when to buy flights is extremely informative and was an enjoyable, easy read. I like that it was based on data on billions of flights and that they gave averages and guidelines but also gave exceptions and explained the data in such great detail. This is one of the most informative and enjoyable reads on this subject. Thanks CheapAir!

    1. You say to check often on flight price but I & many others have noticed a strange thing. If you check a price & don’t book immediately when you return again – even if only an hour later – the price has gone up! But if you get a friend to check on a different computer, the original price is still there. I don’t think it’s paranoia to say that somehow one’s IP address is noted & the price begins to increase to “encourage” you to buy now. Wondering if this is legal?

      1. Hi GV, Yes, there are a lot of people that have theories about this, and if you have the data to support this phenomenon we’d love to hear more about it! Our site produces a lot of data throughout the year and it really doesn’t seem to hold much water. However, (and this is a big however), airfares DO have an extreme amount of volatility month to month, week to week, day to day, and yes even hour to hour. You can read all about how this shakes out here: https://www.cheapair.com/blog/travel-tips/what-the-airlines-never-tell-you-about-airfares/. The IP address “Theory” is an interesting one, but not one that OUR data shows holds a lot of water. It seems to be more of an urban myth. But if you do have this kind of intel, please share it. We’d love to see the evidence!

      2. I totally agree! I figured this out a long time ago. The airlines absolutely keep track of your ip address and the price went up 200., then 400.00 in a matter of a week. So i went to another computer.

  2. I have heard that prices are jacked up for the weekend and best to purchase a ticket on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Is there truth to this?

    1. Hi Elena,

      That’s not entirely true. There’s no hard rule that applies to every flight and route. Flight sales can appear at any time at the discretion of the airline. Typically peak days like Friday and Sunday are more expensive to travel on due to more people traveling versus during the less peak mid-week days. However, Tuesday’s are traditionally when a lot of U.S. domestic airlines release flight sales, so browsing for flights early to mid-Tuesday can be beneficial for finding some sales. The caveat is that there is limited seats available at the sale price, so you have to be super quick to book when a sale is launched. Please let us know if you need any help with finding flights.

      1. Hi. We’re going to a convention in Philly (from PDX) in August. We’d like to go a day or two early, and come back a day or two after, so that works out to be a Saturday to Sat-Sun trip. We wondered if booking flights on these days would make the price a LOT higher. Should I just watch and compare?
        Thanks!

        1. Hi Kent, There are so many variables that can affect the prices on a specific itinerary, but in general flying on the weekend is more expensive than buying a ticket that departs and returns on a Tuesday or Wednesday (the cheapest days to fly, per airfare data for domestic flights). Your strategy is spot on – check a variety of days if you have some flexibility. If you see a big disparity – avoid the weekend.

  3. Thank you for this excellent and informative e-mail! I travel with you as often as I can, because whether on line or with your extremely helpful customer service reps, I always get the best deals and attention.

  4. I compared prices for my Japan trip but the actual airline price was better..going to see my Daughter and Grandbabies(military family..it’s been almost 3 years..yicks). I’ve had great success for domestic flights through your website..but was a little disappointed in the international options and prices…Maybe just something to work a little harder on..But like I said great job on the domestic side! Thx Sarah

    1. Thanks for the feedback Sarah. Happy to hear you got your flights booked and at a cheaper price. Have a wonderful trip to Japan. 🙂

    1. Hi Barry,

      You can try using the CheapAir Mapsearch here: http://bit.ly/1zfNOhJ which will allow you to enter your home airport of Phoenix and see destinations worldwide and the cheapest fares to those destinations. If you hover over a destination and click the price, you’ll be shown a calendar with the cheapest dates to fly. Additionally, I see that you’re already subscribed to our weekly newsletter where we send you the lowest fares from your home airport. Keep in mind that in order to get the lowest fares, you have to be flexible with your dates. (Just enter your routing on our home page and check the “my dates are flexible” box and you’ll be shown the lowest fares.

      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.

  5. Wow, you have my business if for no other reason than stating the facts as you know it and waiting to the end of a very informative piece of work to sale your product. Others my disagree but I can assure you you have a life long customer for your in depth reporting, your honesty and simple put a great way of doing business. Simple put, finding a great balance between saving the customer money and still making the company a profit is true genius. Thank you so much.

  6. When I booked a flight six months in advance to Europe on Virgin Atlantic a few years back, I paid $700 RT from San Francisco to Heathrow. From there I country hopped on Ryan Air and paid less than $100 per flight. Had I waited, the ticket would have cost me $1200 -60 days before my trip. I disagree with this newsflash.

    1. Hi Rachele,

      Great point about international fares. Our report is primarily based on U.S. domestic flights. This rule of thumb doesn’t specifically apply to every flight for every route, but is an average. We actually have more detailed analysis on international flights that we wrote about a while back here: http://bit.ly/1CswT7Q And another post about Europe during the summer, which is a peak season for Europe, here: http://bit.ly/1ApnqAt

    1. Hi Minhua,

      It looks like you’re subscribed to receive our weekly newsletter for flights from Orlando, FL. Please let us know if you need any assistance with finding flights or have any specific questions you need help with.

  7. I’ve been told that the best time to buy tickets is Tuesday evenings. This relates to the computer system that analyses the unsold seats and other variables and it is usually run late Tuesday nights. What’s your opinion on that?

    1. Hi David,

      There is some truth to that. Although it is not specifically Tuesday evenings, but rather Tuesday in general is typically when U.S. domestic airlines will release flight sales. While it isn’t every week, it is a good rule of thumb to check fares on Tuesday and Wednesday for sales. Keep in mind that flight sales are extremely limited in inventory and you have to be flexible with your dates of travel since the lowest fares tend to be on mid-week days when less people are traveling. Please let us know if you need any help with finding flights.

    1. Hi Lucian,

      I see you’re subscribed to our emails, but you have not assigned a home airport. To sign in and assign your home airport, you can use this link: http://bit.ly/1DcBP67 You can also sign up for FareTracker and track specific flight routes that you’re interested in. Please let us know if you need any help with finding flights.

  8. I think u have given great advice & I thank u for it, it is very informative for anyone
    Who travels & has to watch out for the cheep fares

    1. Hi Shahryar,

      That’s not always the case. It can depend on your routing and dates. What city are you looking to leave from and go to? I’d be happy to check the fares for you.

    1. Hi Cathy,

      When booking flights for a cruise, we do recommend booking a lot earlier than normal. The reason is that your dates are not flexible and depending on your departure city, you may have a limited window to fly in and out on the same day as embarking and disembarking. Otherwise, you may have to pay to spend the night. Being that your cruise isn’t for a whole year, I’d recommend checking the fares about 7 to 8 months prior. 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.

  9. I’m always looking for good priced round trip tickets for 2 adults out of Detroit to the east or west coast. Looking for between August and October
    Thanks Marlon

    1. Hi Marlon,

      You can try using the CheapAir Mapsearch here: http://bit.ly/1zfNOhJ which will allow you to enter your home airport of Detroit and see destinations worldwide and the cheapest fares to those destinations. If you hover over a destination and click the price, you’ll be shown a calendar with the cheapest dates to fly. Keep in mind that in order to get the lowest fares, you have to be flexible with your dates. Just enter your routing on our home page and check the “my dates are flexible” box and you’ll be shown the lowest fares. Please let us know if you need any help with finding flights.

  10. Great article , very informative . Please send me deals via email on a regular basis . It has been awhile since I have traveled , however this about to change . I am over due for travel to the Carribean & North America.
    Thanks a gain,
    Roy

  11. I checked flights from IND to Portland, OR, IND to Redmond, OR and IND to Tampa and got nothing, no partner flights available? Do you not have flight out of Indianapolis?

    1. Hi Susan,

      We offer flights from Indianapolis. You can view flights to Portland, OR using this link: http://bit.ly/1Ckj6ka (Just enter your dates.) Additionally, you can view flights to Redmond, OR you can use this link: http://bit.ly/1y1Iwr4. And for Tampa you can use this link: http://bit.ly/1IGYcjO If you can provide me with the dates, I’d be happy to assist you in locating flights. Also, 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.

  12. We are currently looking at flying from Harrisburg, PA (MDT) to Orlando (MCO), leaving Saturday, July 25, 2015 and returning Saturday, August 1, which is about 3.5 months from now. Hotel and theme park tickets are already purchased, but we are holding out on airfare, because prices seem high.

    We are not exactly flexible with times, but we really don’t care what airline we fly. We would like to depart on our outbound trip early in the morning, and then return sometime late afternoon or early morning. Most of the flights we have found with schedules we like are around $490-$500 per person (on Delta, US Airways, and United), and the prices don’t seem to be fluctuating at all. The thing is when you go on the seat maps for most of the flights, most of the flights are very empty (many are not even close to half full yet).

    Would you advise booking now or waiting a bit more? Since the planes are pretty empty right now, do you think the prices will be lowered at some point? I know that Orlando is a popular destination and Harrisburg is a small departure airport with little competition, and so it is a “seller’s market” so to speak; but all of the flights I have looked at are pretty empty so far. Is it common for flights to be that empty 3.5 months out and for prices to be that high?

    1. Hi Matt,

      Based on your routing, dates, and inability to be flexible with flight times, I’d definitely recommend booking your flight sooner than later. The more specific you are the less options you have and are subject to the costs for those few flights available. If you can be a little more flexible with the times, you can score a cheaper flight. As for the empty seating charts, it’s possibly that people have booked but not assigned a seat yet. Since there is still plenty of time till July, you can continue to monitor the flights a little longer, but I’d be cautious to book early. Another great reason to book now is 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.

  13. This was a really good article, but now I’m really aggravated because I feel that I’ve been given false information (not from this article, but from other sources)! I’m supposed to be flying with a group of 5 friends from Baltimore (BWI) to Colorado Springs (COS) for a conference this August (Sunday to a Saturday). I’ve been waiting on a good deal, but now I’m worried that I’ll have to pay more than $600 for a flight. $500 would have been ok, but anything more will be hard to afford. Have I missed on a good deal, or should I keep looking?

    1. Hi Liz,

      What are your exact dates? I’d be happy to check the fares for you. Since you’re traveling in August, I would definitely be ready to buy soon. Colorado Springs is a smaller market, so there will be limited flights and it’s better to book earlier than later due to that. Another factor is you’re looking for 5 seats, which means you should book earlier. Unfortunately there’s no hard and fast exact number of days you should book this route, but I’d be cautious to book early. You can try breaking up your search into smaller groups. Airlines will typically limit the number of seats per flight they sell at their lowest rate, sometimes you can actually price yourself right out of a good deal simply by having too many passengers. If, for instance, Airline X has two seats remaining on a flight at $100 and a bunch of other seats available for $150, if you do a search for a group of 4, the price that will come back will be $150. But if you search for two seats at a time you can buy two for $100 and only have to pay the extra $50 for the second two. How do you know when to do this? Always search first for your whole group at once to make sure that the flight has enough seats to accommodate everyone. Then try the same search for a smaller group. If the price comes out lower for the smaller group, buy the seats for the smaller group, and then do a subsequent search for the rest of your party. It can be a lot of work but, hey, if it saves money…

  14. Trying to book for a flight to Seattle from Cincinnati (only non stop is delta) for the first week of August 2015. Last week I saw flights from 466 on a Tueday but didn’t buy it then when it was payday already and decided to purchase the tickets, boom it went to 591 on a Friday. CSR won’t honor military discount since they said “prices are subject to changes” blah blah blah. hung up the phone pissed, hopefully this week I find a better deal. Willing to travel from either DAY-CVG-CMH area.

    1. Hi Lorenzo. Yes, I totally understand your frustration. The big red flag on your message is the reference to “only nonstop.” If what you’re saying is that you need this nonstop flight from Delta and they have raised the flight price, you should hop on the $591 fare. The airlines have a certain number of seats available at each price point – and once the lower fares are gone, they are usually gone for good. If this wasn’t the only nonstop available, I would tell you to monitor for a bit is a good plan. But the likelihood that the prices will dip again if this is the only nonstop? It’s not likely to happen. People really prefer non stops. I don’t know your exact dates of travel – but my best guess is that you should hop on the fare as soon as you can. It likely won’t pay to wait. Of course, a flight with connections is still showing up in my system for less than $500.

  15. Hi! My fiance and I are going to Cancun for our honeymoon, leaving August 30 and hoping to return September 6 (we might be able to come back a day or two earlier…though not exactly preferred). We are flying out of DTW-he has enough SkyMiles with Delta he can use, so ideally, we’d both fly Delta (but if savings are insanely better on a different airline, we may just do that). What do you recommend as far as when to buy a ticket for me? Should we buy here soon, or wait until I think I saw 86 days on a different article at this same site? Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Stacy,

      In checking the flights, Delta Airlines is the only airline that offers a non-stop flight. (That might be very appealing since it is your honeymoon and the less flights you take, the less risk of anything happening with schedule changes, flight delays, etc..) When it comes to the pricing, Spirit Airlines is cheaper, but they charge for a lot of extras like carry-on bags, checked bags, boarding passes, and more. (Can get costly if you’re not aware.) To view the flight schedules and compare, you can use this link: http://bit.ly/1OYhkRY If you are going to not book using SkyMiles with Delta, then I’d encourage you to book sooner than later. Also, 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.

  16. We are seniors who need to bbysit our grandkids in New Jersey for 2 mos. I need to find the cheapest that we could afford since we are only receiving social security. We are flexible we plan to leave before the end of May & wants to go back before August 3 for a very impt cardiology appt on Aug 3. Can you assist me finding a real good deal from Seattle to Newark, NJ. & return.

    1. Hi Aida,

      In checking the fares from Seattle to Newark, we’re finding the cheapest flights would start from about $438 per person, not including any baggage fees that may apply. The dates we found were May 30 – July 29. To view flight schedules and book, you can use this link: http://bit.ly/1A0SAlA (Since you’re looking to depart within the month, fares are going to be higher than if you would have booked a few months back.) 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.

  17. Some friends and I are flying to DFW November 6th and returning on the 9th for a Dallas game. I’ve only flown once and I’m not very knowledgeable on how to get the best rates. I need help!!!

    1. Hi Ashley,

      Where are you departing from? We’d be happy to assist you in finding the cheapest flights.

  18. We are flying to Orlando from Chicago O’hare on October 31 – November 7th. We need eight tickets! How far in advance would you suggest I book the tickets?

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Based on the size of your group, I’d definitely recommend booking sooner than later. Group discounts are few and far between. An airline will help with groups (10 or more) only. Because airlines will typically limit the number of seats per flight they sell at their lowest rate, sometimes you can actually price yourself right out of a good deal simply by having too many passengers. If, for instance an airline has two seats remaining on a flight at $100 and a bunch of other seats available for $150, if you do a search for a group of 4, the price that will come back will be $150. But if you search for two seats at a time you can buy two for $100 and only have to pay the extra $50 for the second two. How do you know when to do this? Always search first for your whole group at once to make sure that the flight has enough seats to accommodate everyone. Then try the same search for a smaller group. If the price comes out lower for the smaller group, buy the seats for the smaller group, and then do a subsequent search for the rest of your party. It can be a lot of work but, hey, if it saves money! 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.

    1. Hi Sumal,

      We’d happy to help you. Where are you departing from and heading to? Do you have any dates in mind?

  19. We’re flying to Orland from BWI on 12/23 and returning on 12/28. There is 3 in the group. Do you think it’s too early to book? Thanks

    1. Hi Bob,

      Since you’re traveling during the peak Christmas holiday, no. I would recommend booking earlier than later. The holidays are a peak time for traveling and airfares are likely to only get more expensive. To view flight schedules and book, you can use this link: http://bit.ly/1HsbinH And remember, 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.

  20. I’m looking to book a nonstop round trip flight from Boston to LAX from 7/2/15 to 7/5/15. I was reading your article and how prices go significantly up 14 days before the trip. Do you think I should book my flight now or you think the tickets will be a little cheaper this monday 7/15/15?

    1. Hi Dara,

      Yes, you should book asap! The July 4th holiday week is a peak season for traveling, so flights should be booked well in advance. (Months if possible.) At this point, it’s not very likely the prices will decrease. If anything they will only increase since we’re within a month of your departure. To view flight schedules and book, you can use this link: http://bit.ly/1JOxQiP 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.

  21. I want to plan a trip to Tennessee from Michigan this coming winter… not around Christmas.. when would be the best time to plan this trip when its cheaper?

    1. Hi Amanda,

      For the cheapest fares, you’ll want to book early. Since airlines only have a limited number of sale fares, you should book sooner than later. I’d suggest checking the fares for your route and dates to get a sense of the costs. A good deal on flights would be under $300, not including any baggage fees… so I’d aim for as close to that as you an find. (We tried Detroit to Nashville.)

  22. We are going to Orlando Florida Nov 12-21 2015 is too early to book? When is the best time to look for airfare? We are also taking our 3 and 6 year old, is it better to stick with one air line since we’ll be having to change planes? We haven’t traveled by air as a family yet, first timers. Thanks!

    1. Hi Brad,

      Where are you departing from? Since you’re traveling with the family, I’d recommend booking early since there’s more options to choose from and you can also get the best seats that way. When viewing flights and deciding what to book, the connection can impact your traveling experience. Personally, I’d aim to book either a non-stop or a direct flight if you can. While they may be more expensive, they can save you some travel time and potential headache. Direct flights will make a stop, but they will only drop some people off and pick up some other, you and your family would stay on the same plane. Non-stop flights won’t stop at all and are usually more expensive. Other options include connecting flights which will typically be with the same airline, the only difference is that you’d be switching planes and having to wait for the next plane. (Your checked luggage will transfer automatically.) Even if you were to see two different airlines offered it wouldn’t be an issue, the luggage should transfer. Only if you were to book completely separate flights would you have to collect your luggage and re-check in and re-check in for the next flight. This is not recommended due to the lots of factors that can result in delays, missed connections, or lost luggage. 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.

  23. Hi what do you think for flight from Canada/US? Looking to fly back from a cruise end of September. A flight i liked 3 months ago has now risen 100 dollars. However it has stayed that price last several weeks. I am now looking at other times that day. Should i continue to wait? Seems other flights hover around up 10 dollars or down 10. I monitor seat maps also. We are still almost 12 weeks from departing date. Do You think price has bottomed out?

    Thanks for your help

    1. Hi Charon,

      Since you’re returning from a cruise and want specific flights you should book sooner than later. I’d recommend grabbing the flights now to lock in the price. 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.

  24. i just found out i need to go from phl to fll on July 20 to July 24 should i wait till after the holiday to book a flight so it will be cheaper

    1. Hi Allison,

      No, I would recommend booking now or as soon as you can. Since we’re within 21 days of your departure, fares will only continue to get more expensive the longer you wait. 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.

  25. We are booked on a Disney Cruise leaving from Miami on 02/21/2016 and heading home to Minneapolis on the 26th. We want to fly in a day early on the 20th. Of course we prefer non-stop, but obviously if it is cheaper, we would have to do a different route IF the layover/connection is an hour and thirty minutes or less. Do you recommend flying into PBI, FLL or MIA, and how soon should we book? It is my teen daughter and I, but we would also like to travel with my nephew and his family of 4 (two kids under the age of 10). But, we could travel on different planes if need be.

    1. Hi Shelia,

      Since you’re traveling for a cruise and have specific dates and flight times, you’ll want to book earlier than later. (Especially if you’re looking to travel with your nephew and his family.) The more seats and more specific you are, the earlier you should book. As for which airport, MIA will be the most convenient, however FLL will be cheaper and is only about 30 minutes out from Miami. You’d have to consider when your cruise departs and whether you’d have enough time to get there after claiming your bags and getting a cab, which will also cost you. Personally, I’d choose Miami so you don’t have to worry about all that extra stuff, especially if you’re traveling with kids. 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.

  26. hi! My family of 3 has a hotel booked in cancun 2/11/16-2/18/16. we have to purchase flights from Boston to Cancun for 2/11, returning one week later. we leave the Thursday before school vacation week. (in Mass, i know diff states have vacations on diff weeks) I was waiting for Jet Blue to come out with their Feb flights which they did Friday. They only have one non stop which i was super surprised about as its not a very long flight? that flight is listed as way too expensive on JB site. So having looked at all the sites I can find i discovered a round trip situation via UA that was affordable on Friday but not wanting to book right away without doing research i now see that the price has increased over 100 per person since Friday and has stayed that way all weekend. I have several questions:
    1. Why would there only be one non stop on such a short flight?
    2. Do i need to worry about waiting to watch the trends for a few weeks before buying, being that we arent flying until Feb 2016?
    3. How come UA right now is offering a round trip itinerary right now for 1753 and cheapair its 1790 ?
    4. what does a travel voucher mean exactly?
    thanks!

    1. Hi BeachBum,

      Based on your dates and routing, you still have plenty of time to continue to monitor the fares more. Unless you want the only non-stop flight option. To answer your questions:

      1. There are much fewer non-stop flight options than connecting flights. Airlines are trying to syncing up their flight schedules for the most efficient means of transporting as many passengers as they can. If 30 people want to go from Boston to Cancun and 60 people want to go to Boston to Houston, it makes sense for an airline to stop in Houston and drop off those 60 passengers and pick up 60 people who are traveling from Houston to Cancun. Typically airlines will route their flights to hub airports at times to coordinate all this. Unfortunately, there must not be enough demand in the market to warrant the airlines adding more non-stop options from Boston to Houston.

      2. Now that you have your dates and routing, it is smart to check the fares early and often to get a good sense of the costs involved. Since you’re traveling close to the Spring Break season, I’d recommend booking your flights early… especially if you’re eying specific flight times. (The more flexible you are with dates, flight times, airport, the cheaper the fares will be.)

      3 & 4. CheapAir charges a convenience fee for searching and booking flights. When booking with CheapAir, each customer is assigned a personal Travel Advisor who can assist you. Additionally, 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! This means if your exact flight drops in price after you buy, you can check and get up to $100 per ticket back in the form of a travel voucher valid towards your next flight with CheapAir.com.

    1. Hi Kamala,

      Purchasing travel insurance is completely up to the traveler. Travel insurance can be added to your reservation for a fee after completing your purchase. Please let us know if you have any questions about insurance and we’d be happy to assist you.

  27. 12 family members are flying 9/10/15 – 9/13/15 from Chicago O’Hare to Pittsburgh. When I first looked in April airfare was $167 roundtrip (United). I thought that was the norm. Unfortunately it was only offered that one day and I have not seen it drop below $200 since. Am I in denial? Should I bite the bullet now and pay $221?

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      It’s likely you’ve missed that sale. Since you’re searching for 12 seats, you’ll absolutely want to book now and lock in the lowest rate you can. You have a couple options. Option 1, call the airlines and see what kind of group rate they can offer you. A group rate can be booked directly with the airline’s you’re interested in and they will offer you the same rate for everyone in your group. Option 2, Break up your search into separate groups. This can save you money often because there’s only a limited number of remaining sale fares left. Search first for your whole group at once to make sure that the flight has enough seats to accommodate everyone. Then try the same search for a smaller group. If the price comes out lower for the smaller group, buy the seats for the smaller group, and then do a subsequent search for the rest of your party. I’d personally recommend getting a group rate and comparing with a few airlines, then you can try your search online to see if there’s any difference in your favor. Also, 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.

  28. Thanks 🙂 yes we have bought 2 airline tickets SFO to Huston Texas for September wedding
    wedding is call off don’t wann to go there anymore how can I get $ back please let us know

  29. Hello, Would waiting until Tuesdays for flight prices only apply if you are looking at taking a flight 14 days or more out? What if you wanted to take a trip on that Friday?

    1. Hi Jannie,

      If you’re looking to depart within 6 weeks of your departure date, then you should always book as soon as you can. Airfares get more expensive the closer we get to the departure date, so waiting will risk the fares increasing more. I’d buy now.

  30. My family and I will be traveling from either RDU or CLT to Orlando on November 17, 2015. When should we book our flight to get the best fare? We are thinking of one-way and stop at varied places coming home with a rental car.

    1. Hi Kevin, Thanks for the question! Orlando is one of those nearly always popular destinations – our best advice is to start monitoring prices closely NOW if you haven’t already. Don’t use that “47 days out” as a rule, it’s just a guide. The advantage to booking early is 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.

  31. Hi, I am booking a flight from Greenville SC to Philadelphia for August 14th til the 17th. What’s the cheapest I can get? I’m by myself. Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Ryder, The best prices I’m finding right now are under $500, but not by much. I can find a few flights for $483 RT. You’re getting very close to your travel dates which is why flight fares are pretty high already. I’m afraid it’s pretty unlikely that the flight prices will go down. Our best advice to you is to book now if you can: http://bit.ly/1hb93v2.

  32. Hi, I’m looking to set a wedding date for either June or July 2016 from NYC to Honolulu, HI. Is there a certain time frame that’s preferred to lower the price? Like early, mid or late June/July. Would it be worth it to try to have it for May instead pricewise? Thanks very much

    1. Hi Susan, Hawaii is one of those rare destinations (because of its year-round fantastic weather, primarily) that doesn’t have much in the way of seasonal price fluctuations. Hawaii is also a very popular destination for weddings. I think you’ll probably save a bit of money by booking in May, but I don’t think it is going to be a huge difference in price. Of course, if you’re going to be inviting friends and family, you’ll want to choose a date very early to allow them to purchase their tickets early enough to avoid the high fares that waiting will get them. Congratulations and good luck with your planning!

    1. Hi Jen, We do charge a convenience fee, but we believe that our services warrant it. Basically, our fee covers the Price Drop Payback as well as the customized experience. If you purchase a ticket with CheapAir, you are assigned a southern-California based travel advisor to assist with any questions/concerns as well as any issues (scheduling, etc.) that can later come up with the airlines.

  33. We want to fly out to Yakima, WA for the birth of our grandchild…but don’t want to get there too soon before the baby is born but don’t want to wait until after baby is born to book a flight We don’t mind being a day or two early….but don’t want to miss the birth The due date is January 16….any suggestions?

    1. Hi Carole, well, the good news is that you’re traveling for an exciting and thrilling event. The bad news is (I have 2 kids myself), there’s no way to predict when exactly they choose to show up. If you’re family is planning a scheduled birth, that can take some of the guesswork out of the situation, but otherwise, the only real way to control your dates with certainty is to by a changeable ticket. And you will pay dearly for this flexibility. As far as the airline is concerned, once you’ve traveled to Yakima, the return is a much easier ticket to change (at a much lower cost). Let me give you a for example. If you book a flight today for January 10th to be safe, but then your grandchild decides to come two weeks earlier, when you call the airline to make the change, they will essentially cancel the first ticket, rebook at the price on December 26th (which is about 250% guaranteed to be much higher than it is today), and on top of that they will charge you a change fee. If you plan to fly out on the 10th and hope for the best, and then you plan to return a bit earlier, all you will pay for once you’ve flown to Yakima, would be the change fee. I’m not sure exactly why the airlines all operate like this, but it’s a good bit of information to know in advance. Congratulations and let me know if I can answer any other questions.

  34. Hi, I was wondering is it cheaper after thanksgiving long weekend to buy flight tickets? cause we were looking at some prices this past weekend which was the Canadian thanks giving and the prices we got were 1300$ were trying to find prices under 800$.

    1. Hi Stephanie, I am not sure if I’m 100% clear on your question. Can you share where you are traveling from and to? That might help – if I understand correctly, you had wanted to travel last weekend (the Canadian Thanksgiving) but found the prices to be high (and yes, they will be high on holidays). Prices should be less expensive from now until Christmas week if you’re traveling domestically. If you’re planning to travel to a U.S. destination, keep in mind the U.S. Thanksgiving week (Thanksgiving holiday is November 26) kicks off the American travel holiday season, so you will definitely see prices spike from that date until the week after New Years (with the highest prices being Christmas week). Hope this helps!

  35. I am looking to fly in May 7th and return May 14th. LA to Orlando. Is it likely I will be able to get a black friday deal or will there be a good time for a separate spring deal? I noticed since I have been just checking prices now, a lot of fall / winter social media deals are happening right now. Any advice or anything in particular about flying early May?

    1. Hi Dustin, There have been quite a few sales going on all autumn so far because of some pretty aggressive airfare wars so keep in mind prices you are seeing right now might not be available later. Orlando is one of those destinations that is in pretty high demand most of the year and doesn’t usually see huge sales. At the same time, we don’t recommend buying this early for domestic destinations anyway. I would recommend taking a “wait and see” approach, maybe set a fare alert with airfare watchdog and buy when you see some good fares published. That will put you in a good position for any black friday or holiday sales should they come up, and it will mean you’re not jumping the gun too early.

  36. Hi! We are 2 adults and an 8 yr old going to FL ~ Feb 12-19 (we’re flexible by a day or two, looking to stay 5-7 days). Rochester NY to FL. Any suggestions on the best time to buy? Thank you so much for your expert advice!!!

    1. Hi Laura, Our typical advice is to book about 3-4 months from your travel dates. On average, the very best day to buy is about 47 days out (but that is an average of all popular markets in the US). For Florida in February, I know this is a popular time. Folks escaping cold weather head down south. I’m not sure if your plans are for Orlando, but if they are, as you know Orlando is pretty much popular year-round. So, I would definitely start keeping an eye on fares now. You’re very close to the optimal window to get the best fares (that 3-4 month window). If you can fly mid-week instead of the weekend, you will probably get better fares as well. Good luck to you!

  37. what’s with the no nonstop flights boston to cancun Been going for four years this is the worst ever for flights I’ve seen. 15 hour LAYOVERS!!!! ON ALTERNATE DATES!!!

  38. My wife and I are planning our annual Rochester NY to Orlando FL trip from Feb 12-21 2016 (days could be different on either end). Why is it fares are so much more expensive this year versus last year? Last year we flew Southwest non stop each way and we were in the $1,500.00 range. I just tried booking to check prices and we are looking at more than double, sometimes nearly tripple what we paid last year. What gives? Oil is $40.00/barrel and there are supposed to be deals. Looks like we may not be going anywhere this year.

    1. Hi Anthony, Unfortunately, this is a complaint we are used to hearing this year. It’s true that oil prices have gone down. It is also true that (in general) the airline’s domestic prices have not come down in kind. There have been some very attractive sales in certain markets this fall because the low cost carriers have been creating some competition with the legacy carriers, but I’m not sure if Orlando is one of those markets. When i look from the 12th to the 19th, I see flights for $575 RT flying Allegiant. If I look from Feb 10 to Feb 18th, I see as low as $224 a ticket flying American.

  39. When is the best time to buy tickets from Detroit to Houston for April 1-5? I’ve checked several different scenarios, same days, different weeks and months and the prices are all over the board. If I wait, the prices will go up. If I buy now, the prices will go down. I feel that I can’t win!

    1. Hi Julie, I see you’ve read our blog post. That really gives the best information we have at our disposal (the data we get from selling thousands of flights every year). Our advice is always data-based, which means you get unbiased, fact-based information. Our data suggests that the average best time to purchase is about 47 days from travel. More generally, we use the guideline of 3-4 months for domestic travel (to get the best price). This does not take into account specific preferences (like if someone will ONLY do nonstop flights, for example). This only suggests the best price (whatever the itinerary). The more specific preferences you have, the earlier you should book. Using our 3-4 month “prime booking window” as a guide, you should be ok to wait until just after the holidays to get the best price.

  40. Flying out on January 26th for LAX and going to Orlando and will be coming back on Feb 4th. I checked and the price dropped just a few days ago and now today went up a bit more. Should i hold out a little longer?

    1. Hi Brian, If you saw the fares drop, that is always good sign to buy. Remember, lots of people are watching the fares just like you. Once a few people start to buy out the lower fares, they are just gone. It’s not a risk we like to tell people to take. If the price drops, buy!

  41. I am going to travel to my son’s Graduation from Basic Training. Due to the fun aspect of the Military are we able to change fight dates with your service? In looking at various airlines and packages do you also offer hotel and car rentals? Expected graduation is in February so have some time before the Army gives an expected graduation date.

    1. Hi Cyndee, I’m not in the business of turning away sales but in your case I think you should book direct with the airlines. I’m not sure where your son is graduating from, but Southwest and Virgin America both have very good customer service as well as less painful change/cancellation fees. I might look into a changeable ticket if I were you if Southwest services your destination to see if that’s an affordable option.

  42. Hi,
    I’m a college student who will be traveling to Melbourne, Australia for an exchange program. I need to get there on March 10th. I also intend on buying a flight to Hong Kong for May and then one back to Boston for the end of May. Would you recommend buying them now? I checked the prices on a couple of websites and they haven’t changed at all in the past weeks/days. Thanks!

    1. Hi Joal, The fact that you have checked prices for a few weeks and the prices are holding steady would indicate that they will probably start to climb before they go back down. I know you mentioned going to Australia, but you say you’re looking at flights to Hong Kong. We recommend booking flights to Asia almost 10 months out, so my best advice would be to book very soon. You may have already missed the absolute low prices, but whatever low fares are around will continue to climb.

  43. I’m looking at flights for February 2016 to be with my daughter when she has her first baby. Because she could obviously have the baby earlier or later than planned, is it possible to purchase tickets which have the flexibility of being changed at the last minute? By the way, I’ll be looking at San Diego to Cleveland.

    1. Hi Linda, Short of purchasing changeable tickets (which can be quite expensive), the other affordable option (for changing a ticket) is to buy a ticket for a specific set of dates and then make changes once you have flown to the destination. In other words, changing the return flight is much easier and less expensive than changing the outbound. To change an outbound flight, the airline will basically cancel the first purchased flight and then rebook your whole itinerary at the price it is on the date you request the change PLUS a change fee. So sometimes, when the customer really can’t pinpoint the outbound date, it can actually be more economical to buy a changeable ticket.

  44. hey, I am trying to travel to Canada from Washington Dc BETWEEN 28/12/15 – 05/jan/2016. What do you recomend to have cheap tickets

    1. Hello, We are very close to your travel dates and therefore you should really plan to buy your tickets this week. Travel over the New Year will get even more expensive, not less so. Please do your research and purchase sooner rather than later. Good luck to you!

  45. I’m looking to book a flight from norfolk va to San luis obispo in mid April 2016. I have no restrictions on when I leave or when I come back. I would like a 5 to 7 day trip. Can you help me find the best deal possible? Also what exactly is a travel credit? And is there an expiration date associated with it?

    1. Hi Stephanie, In general we recommend buying tickets about 47 days out to get the best price “on average”. About 3-4 months from your travel date will likely give you the best fare wherever you’re headed. If you can narrow your dates a bit, I can assist with specific itineraries. Our Price Drop Payback feature is great if you buy a ticket and the price drops post-purchase. This ors not happen often, but when it does we will give you a credit for future travel up to $100 per ticket to cover any decrease in fare you experienced. Read this post for more information: https://www.cheapair.com/blog/cheapair-news/when-to-buy-the-timing-just-got-easier-with-cheapairs-price-drop-payback/.

  46. Hello. Two of my friends and I are planning to go to Orlando, Florida (MCO) from Newark, New Jersey (EWR) in late January for a weekend (Thurs.- Mon.).

    Should I purchase them now or wait until the holidays are over?

    1. Hi Sheyla, In general we recommend buying tickets about 47 days out to get the best price “on average”. About 3-4 months from your travel date will likely give you the best fare wherever you’re headed.

  47. Hi.. I wish to travel from Mumbai India to Orlando USA dates around 2nd of July 2016 – 4th of July 2016.. Pls guide when is the good time to buy tickets..

    1. Hello. It’s hard to say for sure. Most of our data is based on flights that originate in North America and Canada (we’re based in the U.S.) so I don’t want to mislead you about the best time to buy. But one general rule that we tell everyone who has this question is to research flights early and often. If you see flight prices start to climb, this is an indicator that it is a good time to buy. Once the airline sells the limited number of seats at a certain price point, they bump prices to the next level (and so on). An incremental increase in flight cost generally will indicate that the flight is selling, and that prices will not subsequently go down. The opposite scenario is also important. If you watch flights for 4 weeks with no movement in price and then all of a sudden the fares go down? That means it is time to buy. The flight was likely not selling at the previous fare so the airline put it on “sale.” The one caveat if you find yourself in this situation – do not wait. There are likely dozens if not hundreds of people in your situation and some of them will take advantage of the low fare. It will not last. One final caveat – if you see a good itinerary (good connections or nonstop) at a good price, hop on it as well. Nonstops are a premium. The longer you wait to buy, the less availability for those good trips. So you might save money by waiting, but you could also get stuck with a much less desirable itinerary. I hope this helps! Good luck to you.

  48. I will be booking round trip flight for an unescorted minor from DFW to Seattle. Can I do that through CheapAir or do I need to go directly through the airline.

  49. I’ve tried searching travel options with Cheapair many times and have found that only rarely are the lowest fares available once you select them and “drill down” to make specific flight selections. Although I do like many of the Cheapair features, this is rather annoying and is what has kept me using Kayak over the years. Rarely are the fares they list unavailable when you move forward with booking.

    1. Hi gene, Thanks for the feedback. Have you tried us lately? We have updated our site very recently and have improved the search function. Please give us a try again – and let us know what you think!

  50. cheapair, When would be the best time to buy a r/t ticket for the Indianapolis 500? My departure city is PDX. The race is on Sunday, May 29th. I would like to fly out on Saturday, May 28th and return on Monday, May 30th. I could return after the race as well but would need a flight after 20:00.

    If I chose to go a day or two earlier [or later] I can save about $100 per day but it costs $100 per day – or more – for the rental car and lodging so I might just as well go on May 28th and return May 29th. Thanks for your kind response. 🙂

    1. Hi John, Usually we recommend about a 2-4 month range in when to buy (we call this our prime booking window) with an average “best time to buy” domestically of 47 days (in 2015). However, all bets are off when you factor in a huge sporting event like the Super Bowl or the Indy 500. We recommend buying sooner rather than later because the demand dictates there will be no sales and prices are only going to climb the closer we get to the event date. Hope this helps – buy sooner rather than later!

  51. Trying to get to Portland Maine from IAD 9/9/16 returning 9/16/16. See tickets at reasonable price but the return flight departs at 6:00 a.m. Way too early if you are already an hour and half away from airport. Next flight out the price goes up $100.00. I know its a bit early, but do you think the better return flight might come down in price as we get closer (47 days to 3 months out)? The earlier flight is unreasonable to catch. Thank you!

    1. Hi Brian, I feel your pain. Buy you’re onto something. The flights that are harder to sell generally sell at lower prices. If most folks are in your shoes (dealing with a long drive to get to the airport), this is why the earlier flight is cheaper. One tactic would be to drive in the night before and take a room at a motel or hotel so you can take advantage of the lower fare. Of course, if you have to pay for a motel room, you’re not going to be saving as much. I wouldn’t bank on the more attractive flight coming down in price. It happens sometimes, but we never like to advise on “maybe” type scenarios. Typically, the closer you get to travel dates, the higher the prices trend. Our sweet spot for booking at the best price is about 2-4 months out for most travelers, but there are always exceptions (holidays, people who have restrictions on specific flights or connections). You sound like you’re in this group. It’s probably okay to wait and watch at this point, but I’d check in from time to time. If you see the prices either dip or spike (even a little) that is a sign that it’s time to buy.

  52. I booked a NCL for 4 days 4/29-5/2 I need a flight to arrive at Miami Florida airport before 12 but the only flights available are too expensive will they add more morning flights or should I just book now? Leaving from Boston ,MA

    1. Hi there, Hard to say. Sometimes certainly airlines add flights (especially when a particular route sells out or even oversells). Boston to Miami seems like a pretty well-trod route (with lots of historical data) so it’s a bit of a stretch to assume additional routes might pop up. You can also check with the airlines to see how these flights are selling. If they are selling well at these prices, don’t plan for prices to come down. Prices tend to dip when the flights aren’t selling. If you feel they are too expensive right now, loads of other people likely are as well. i would watch the flights for a bit and when prices spike or dip – that’s when you want to buy.

  53. Want to fly from Tampa, Fl to Ottawa,Canada, what is the best day & time to book a flight in the next week. Starting the 27th of Jan. 2016.

    1. Hi Vickey, you’re looking very close to flight dates. Aside from avoiding the weekend (which typically is more expensive), we say just book ASAP. It’s going to be very hard to find deals this close to your travel dates.

  54. I understood If we buy a ticket from cheapoair at 850, then if we see the price drop to 800$ , we can get 50$ travel voucher. what if we see price drop to 750 before the travel date, can we get another 50$ voucher again ?

    1. Hi Zafrul, We are not CheapOAir. We are CheapAir (very similar name). We do not offer this deal. If you book with us, we have a feature called “Price Drop Payback” that allows you to get a credit for future travel up to $100 if the flight price should go down after you book. It’s a great sort of security built in to the cost of your ticket. Let us know if you book – we’d love to have you try us out.

  55. Hi! I want to fly from Cleveland to Phoenix 2/27-3/4 … What are the chances that the price goes down? Or do you think I’m already too late?

    1. Hi Kurt, Very doubtful this close to travel that the prices will go down, but almost certain that they will continue to rise. If you are married to these dates and need to make this trip, we recommend buying now.

    1. Hi Andrea, Are you ok to fly to PDX instead of PWM? Not sure why you’d prefer PWM or possibly that was a typo? The flights to PDX will be more affordable (I believe). I also assume you mean that you do not want to have any layovers that are overnights. Is this correct?

  56. My wife and I are flying from Atlanta to Miami to go on a cruise (May15-21). I wanted to see if you had any recommendations on when to buy since its almost summer by that time and its a very popular destination?

    1. Hi Doc, Yes, Miami is one of those destinations that doesn’t have much of a low or shoulder season and May is in the thick of cruise season. You are right to be looking now rather than to wait. Our data is based on averages in many of the top markets around the U.S. so is meant to be used as a guide rather than a rule. Our best recommendation is to start looking now and if you see a good fare, scoop it up. You might look for indicators like increases (even small increases) in the fare price or small dips. Movement is a sign that it is time to buy!

  57. Hi! I’m visiting Hawaii in the beginning of July (7/4-7/10) for a wedding. Prices for those dates have been hovering around $650-675. Should I hold out on buying tickets or purchase them now? (Trip is a little over 5 months away) Thanks for any advice!

    1. Hi Jenny. It’s hard to say without knowing where you are flying from. If you’re flying from the west coast it is possible that there could be fare sales (especially from LAX or SFO) but if not, it really depends. As you know, Hawaii has no low season and summer is very popular for weddings. I would probably watch for another month or so and then pull the trigger. If you see the fares start to climb (even slightly) or dip (even slightly) it is also an indicator that it is time to buy. Remember there are many people likely looking at your same itinerary – some of them will bite as soon as fares go down. It’s a major mistake to hope for deep discounts or to see an itinerary go down and hope it will continue to fall before buying. We always recommend people aim for a “good” fare rather than the “best” fare, which these days can be something of a unicorn.

  58. Hi, We’re flying to Hawaii in December for a wedding; is it safe to say that flights from the east coast hover around $1000? Can I expect it to drop much lower than that? Should we just buy now or wait another month or two? Thanks so much for any help you can offer.

    1. Hi Ellyse, which island? Honolulu or Maui are a bit more popular, and tend to have sales. If you are avoiding the very popular travel dates of December 18-31st I would say wait. You can use the 1-4 month rule. But if you are booking during Christmas week (and to a lesser degree Hanukkah week), you might be better off booking soon.

  59. Hi, I have a couple different flights to ask about. I’m flying to Las Vegas and am flexible. Have been looking at mid August to mid September, and it seems like end of August and going Fri-Mon have the cheapest fares. I’ve seen flights out of ATL hovering around 300. Should I expect much change as we get closer, and what do you think would be the best time to go? I’m also flying ATL to Cape Town 12-25 to 1-7. Would flexible dates save money, and when should I expect to see the best fares?

    1. Hi Josh! Let’s start with the easier itinerary. Unless Las Vegas has something going on during the dates you are considering, you can probably wait a bit to buy there. I would suggest booking 1-4 months from travel. Vegas in the summer is HOT and usually offers some discounts since the heat puts off some travelers. Mid-week flights will give you a significant discount on hotels (and possibly airfare), because weekends in the city are always more popular. As for South Africa, you should start looking now. You’re booking over the holidays (always more expensive. Always.) Being flexible with your dates is a great idea, though you’re already helping a bit by flying on Xmas day. We do recommend booking flights to Africa (on average) about 8.5 months out to get the best prices so you have a bit more time. I might wait until April (or May at the latest) just to watch the flight price trends and see if you see movement. Any movement is an indicator it is time to buy. If the prices drop, other people watching fares will hop on the fare right away (driving prices back up) and if prices start to inch northward you can be sure this is a sign that the flights are starting to fill and the fares at the lower price points are selling. Good luck to you!

  60. hi cheap air. I’m a international student in U.S. and I’m trying to find a flight to come back home during summer. I intend to go from the end of May to the beginning of August . However , this is the first time I buy airline ticket online . So I’m so confusing and wondering that what is the best time to buy cheap ticket ?? And if I buy online , how can I get bill or airline ticket ? Is it more difficult to check in with online ticket in airport ??

    1. Hi Jehia, You’d have to let me know where you are planning to travel to so I can give you the best advice. Purchasing tickets online from the U.S. is very common. You can sometimes travel without paper tickets at all – with most online purchases you can check in from home or SmartPhone if you have one. Sometimes even boarding can be done with your phone. But if you do not have a SmartPhone you can always print boarding passes at the airport. Good luck to you. I can give a bit more advice about when you should buy if you share your destination. Best of luck!

  61. Hi,

    I’m planning to go to Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia for 3 weeks holiday with my family in July/Aug (22nd July – 14th Aug). When is the best time to buy the ticket? Looking at the price now is about £500+, can we still get £400+ price?

    1. Hi Lola, I’m assuming you are flying from the UK based on your currency selection. It’s nearly impossible to predict whether you can expect to see prices go down, but I can tell you that once prices start to rise they tend to not go back down. This is for a number of reasons – but the most likely reason is that the flights are selling tickets at these prices. I did notice that your travel dates are outbound flight on a Friday and the return on a Sunday. You might find better prices if you have some flexibility in your dates so you could fly on mid-week days instead of weekends 9which tend to be the more expensive tickets). Good luck to you.

    1. Hi there, We generally recommend purchasing domestic tickets anywhere from 1-4 months out, depending on your requirements. If you have some flexibility in your dates and flight times, you can probably afford to wait until closer to travel dates. If you need specific flights at a specific time of day, you should book sooner rather than later (the most attractive flights will sell out first, even if they are more expensive).

  62. Hi, I’m a new flyer and though I’ve read through all of the tips and info, I still feel nervous about when I’m going to order tickets… It’s so unpromising! What would the best advice be as to when I should order by one way, non-stop tickets from CVG – DEN? I plan on leaving August 5th – though it’s not completely set in place so I could even leave on the 6th if it happened to be cheaper. I need 3 tickets and right now I found them for what I see to be pretty cheap compared to a lot of flights – $137. Could the price go down even more? What do I do?! Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Alexis, To be perfectly honest, $137 per ticket sounds pretty darn good. (I realize this response is not terribly scientific). Here’s the thing. You are not likely to find tickets that close to $100 as we come closer to the dates of travel. Frankly, it’s not common to find tickets for that price going anywhere. If you see that price, I would snap them up. Now, my professional response would have to be more tempered. We just came out with a new study this year that gives you a bit more nuance and puts the time to buy into “zones.” It’s a clever way to show you how to buy. You can find that here: http://bit.ly/1UnmGHn. Good luck to you!

  63. I’m looking for at flight to Puerto Rico from Orlando , round trip, 2 adult and one kid , can you find something cheaper for me, thank you

  64. We made last minute plans to fly out of Minneapolis to Dallas. We leave in 27 days and prices aren’t looking great. What are the chances they’ll go down in the next few days?

  65. Not sure if I just missed this, but does this info apply for tickets purchased straight from airlines or for travel sites like Travelocity, Expedia, Kayak, etc?

    1. Hi Nick, We’re a for-profit operation, so this airfare intelligence is based on our own proprietary data as well as data shared across the industry. Hope this helps!

  66. Hi,

    I am looking for flight from PHL to SJU in August. So far, the cheapest I can find is $404. I am willing to fly from EWR as well. Can you help? It looks like these flights are filling up fairly quickly.

    1. Hi Tiff! You should check out our just published study on when to buy: http://bit.ly/1UnmGHn, you’ll see that there are different “zones” that have different benefits. If you book very early, you have the most options available, but they usually come at a premium. In addition, we have a tool for individual markets that may be able help you make this decision: https://www.cheapair.com/when-to-buy-flights. In your case, because you mention that flights are filling fast, you might want to keep a close eye on flight prices right now. The last thing you want to do is get stuck with a really expensive ticket because you were waiting for a fare to dip when the trend is going in the opposite direction. Good luck to you!

  67. Hello! Thank you for the great information! I am taking my family to Orlando October 8-15 leaving from Hartford ct. There will be 10 of them ( hubby and I are driving!!) I say it is to early to book and get the best price. My son is saying I should book now as it is Columbus day weekend . What is your professional option ? Thank you in advance

    1. Hi Diane, you’re just in time for our latest study! One caveat, because you are looking to buy 10 tickets i would probably err a bit on the early side (especially if you want everyone in close proximity on the plane. Here is some very useful information on when to buy: http://bit.ly/1UnmGHn. You’ll see that there are different “zones” that have different benefits. If you book very early, you have the most options available, but they usually come at a premium. In addition, we have a tool for individual markets that may be able help you make this decision: https://www.cheapair.com/when-to-buy-flights. Good luck to you!

      1. Thank you soooo much! VERY helpful information. Have decided to be after viewing the second chart to wait to buy tickets till ” piece of mind” lol

  68. I’m looking for an affordable flight into kingston jamaica in latter part of july to mid August and so far cannot find a reasonable price Spirit Air line has a fair enough price but they charge for carry on why is that? So by the time they charge for carry on plus 2 other luggage they’re the most expensive airline I would like to know the best airline to travel that is affordable for a senior citizen thank you very much

    1. Hi Janis, You’re right about Spirit. They usually do offer rock bottom prices, but in order to get those prices you have to travel very light. They are sometimes not the best option for someone who likes to travel with a bit more luggage. I’m not sure what you consider a reasonable price for Jamaica. If you haven’t been in a few years, you should know that flying has (in general) become more expensive. Oil prices drove up fares but even though oil prices have now stabilized and have gone down, most of the airlines have not adjusted their fares accordingly. Where are you traveling from? I might be able to give you more personalized advice.

    1. Hi Sam, Can you give us a bit more information? There are a lot of factors that go into pricing and I’m not sure there is a lowest month. Oftentimes the winter months (outside of December) have good prices. Also, cities with popular winter markets sometimes can be expensive anyway. Can you share which cities in Germany you are looking at? That may help us give you some more detailed advice. We also have an international study coming out soon that may help you with these questions. Check back.

  69. I need the cheapest flight for one adult, I bag one carry on from Perth Australia to St. Louis mo for May 5th to August 5th.

    1. Hi Brenda, We are a U.S. based travel company so our best airfare intel is outbound from North America. having said that, there are a few tips and tricks that can be applied no matter your originating country. Purchasing flights mid-week rather than for the weekend, tend to getthe best deals. May 5th is a Thursday (which is historically THE most expensive day to travel in the U.S.) If you have some flexibility in your travel dates we recommend flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Also, the best fares are going to typically have the worst/longest connections. If you’re a pretty chill traveler and can cope with layovers, that will also get you some savings. But keep in mind that what looks like a deal when you’re booking might not feel like such a bargain if you don’t like inconvenient travel itineraries. Right now the best fare I see on our site for your May 5 to August 5 itinerary is for $1,847 USD return.

  70. Hi we are going to Disney in the beginning of September 2016. When should we book our flights for 2 kids 2 adults from Cleveland to Orlando?

    1. The truth of the matter (lucky you!) is that airfares to Vegas are generally some of the most affordable tickets from most departure airports in the U.S. You can save additional money by avoiding the weekend (hotels, especially offer deep discounts for weekday stays rather than the more popular weekend stays). Unless there is a big sports event, concert or conference going on, in general, you’ll find fares to be quite attractive. Plan to buy about 2-6 weeks from your travel dates.

  71. Hey,
    I want to know when would is a good time to buy tickets from Knoxville to Dallas or vice versa. Also any other advice to travel cheap between these two places?

    1. Hi Chris, There are a lot of factors that play into how fares are priced and how long fares are generally good for…I would take a look at this popular post for some tips on airfare pricing: https://www.cheapair.com/blog/travel-tips/what-the-airlines-never-tell-you-about-airfares/. In general, you’ll want to purchase your ticket in what we call the “prime booking window,” that 2-4 month window before you travel. Flying midweek is usually better than flying over a weekend, and the best fares are usually tickets with connections rather than the more popular nonstop options. Basically, the more flexibility you can bring to the table, the more likely you are to get a lower priced ticket.

  72. I’m planning a trip to Nicaragua around Thanksgiving (Nov. 22-28). Right now the flights are about $950 (from STL). Is this a reasonable price considering the dates? Most of the travel apps indicate that flights to Nicaragua are generally $600-700. Should I buy them now or wait and see if the prices drop a little? Thanks!

  73. Im planning on booking a trip to maui for winter break from SJC and i noticed that the price was at 630 and then went down to a little and has now risen to 650. should i wait to buy my ticket or should i buy now? what is a decent airline ticket for that time of year

    1. Hi Kailey, Your instincts to buy now are spot-on. We do tend to recommend buying around 1-4 months out (on average) for domestic tickets. But Hawaii is very popular year-round and the Christmas holidays are peak travel time. $600-650 for Christmas is definitely a very good price for that time of year and if you are starting to see prices climb incrementally, they are not likely to go back down. Once the fares start to sell, they will continue to inch up (since there are only a very limited number of seats on each plane at a particular price point). Our best advice is always conservative – you want to aim to get a good fare rather than the “best” fare.

  74. Is there any data stating that ski destinations follow the holiday/spring break rule.? Or would they follow the general “1-4 month out” rule?

    1. Hi Andrew, This is a great question, albeit one we don’t really have the greatest answer for. If you are traveling to a ski destination around Christmas, New Years or traditional spring break dates (really, anytime in March or April), you should probably look sooner (perhaps as early as later this month for Christmas travel or fall for spring break travel dates). If you’re planning a trip sometime after the first week in January but before the end of February, you can probably afford to wait a bit longer. And of course, if you know you are traveling to a very popular ski destination, plan accordingly as well.

  75. Some people have brought up that when they look at a flight, if they come back later the price is more expensive, but if somebody else looks it is still the original price. Some sites use cookies that bookmark when you visited and what flights you looked at, and as a result they filter out the cheaper flights and give you the more expensive price. You need to clear your cookies before looking again with some sites.

  76. Hello, we are planning to go to Brasil from Belgium next summer, month July. Which airport would be cheapest in our part of the world: Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam of Dusseldorf. And on the Brazilian side: Sao Paolo or Rio? When best to book for July?
    Regards,
    Mark

    1. Hi Mark, Our company is North American based, so we don’t have the best airfare intelligence from Europe (our best advice is for outbound Canadian and US customers). But, in general, it looks like there’s not much difference whether you fly into Sao Paolo or Rio de Janeiro. The flights for late June/early July have not yet posted, but if I use your city pairs to look up dates in June to get an idea of what the fares might look like, this is what I come up with: Paris to Rio on TAM is $616 USD return and about $40 more to Sao Paolo (also on TAM). Amsterdam to Rio is $752 return on Alitalia and about $40 more to Sao Paolo (also on Alitalia). Brussels to Sao Paolo is a hair cheaper $642 than Rio ($652)on Lufthansa. Dusseldorf to Sao Paolo is $773 on Iberia and $836 to Rio on KLM. So the good news is that it looks like most of the airports offer about the same fares. You can decide what is most convenient for you. The fares for July should be up in the next couple of weeks. These are good prices right now because of Zika concerns in South America. Book as soon as you can.

  77. I’m planning to go to Denver in October, flying on a Sunday-Sunday out of FWA. How long should I wait to buy tickets? The prices are continually going higher and higher. Will they eventually go lower or should I buy now?

    1. Hi Jayla, The sweet spot for usually getting the lowest domestic fare is somewhere between 2-6 weeks from your travel date but one thing that you always have to remember is that this is an average of all the possible itineraries across the country. It certainly seems like you should buy now based on what you’ve described. Once a fare starts to go up incrementally, it very, very rarely goes back down. If you purchase a ticket with us, we have a feature called Price Drop Payback that protects your ticket up to $100 in the unlikely event the fare should dip back below what you paid. Based on what you’ve told us about the fare’s trajectory, we can really only advise that you buy before the fares go up even more.

  78. Hawaiian vacation 9-16-2017 thru 9-30-2017…Should I book 11 months out or at a later date?
    Also should I book online or thru travel agent?

    1. Hi James, I think you could hold off purchasing for a bit if you’re looking to get the best fare. If you’re the kind of traveler who has specific needs (in our most recent study, we call these folks the kind of people who like “first dibs,”) you’re better off booking early for the best choice: https://www.cheapair.com/blog/cheapair-news/the-best-time-to-buy-a-flight-is-54-days-out-or-is-it/. Buying early will not often get you the cheapest fare, but undoubtedly gives you the most options. Online or through a travel agent is another tricky question. We are an online travel agency so we’re probably biased – we think booking online is easy, efficient and often cheaper. However, if you like to get the full-service experience and can appreciate the professional opinion of an expert in, say Hawaiian travel, there is a benefit to perhaps paying a bit more but getting good advice. I tend to book my own travel online about 90% of the time, but if I’m going somewhere new I tend to consult with an agent for my first trip.

  79. Thank you…If I booked online with cheapair.com and the carrier is American Airlines, do I still
    receive my 2 for 1 air mile credit? (i.e., AAdvantage Platinum Select)

  80. Looking for good deals on 8 adult flights, June 8-12 2017( for a cruise, ) Flying in early ( Day before cruise), flying out late afternoon, Best time and best way to book all 8 flights, no more flexibility on flying back home , Departing MLI, Moline arriving All Orlando Sanford airports
    Thanks Mike

    1. Hi Mike, Our first big tip is to do your research in single tickets or pairs rather than searching for all 8 at once. This is for two reasons: The universal ticketing system that all of the airlines use is not the most modern. What can happen when you are shopping for a group is that the results returned will be for whatever ticket price in which there is inventory. There might be 6 tickets for less, but because you searched for 8, you’ll see a higher price. In addition, though everyone at the planning stage might say they want to be on the same flight, sometimes plans don’t work out. If you’re volunteering to organize, you might find it less stressful to do the preliminary travel research and then offer people a few options. Leave it up to everyone to book, so those that wait don’t penalize those who buy early with higher fares. I don;t actually see flights into Sanford from Moline. Flights into MCO on your dates range from $320-450 at the moment. Good luck to you.

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