Study Reveals When to Buy International Airline Tickets

CALABASAS, CA (April 16, 2019) today released its 2019 International Airfare Study, which reveals how to get the best prices on international flights departing from the United States. The team crunched 917,000,000 airfares looking for seasonal variations, cheapest days to fly, and best-value months. The big takeaway for 2019: volatility in international airfares decreased, and the Prime Booking Window grew longer. Travelers should start flight hunting early and look for price variations among airports near their destination.

In past years, booking too early could come back to bite international travelers. Now, travelers who buy during the Prime Booking Window will pay within five percent of the lowest price. For some regions, that booking window extended from roughly 10 months out to three weeks from departure. Thus, a good strategy is to buy earlier or in the middle of the window because ideal itineraries are limited.

“The biggest takeaway in this year’s study is that buying early is no longer a bad strategy,” said CEO Jeff Klee. “Airlines seem much more likely to open a flight up for sale with some pretty good fares out of the gates. That means travelers aren’t forced to pay higher fares anymore if they want the luxury of booking early to nab the best times and the best seats.”

A few macrotrends are worth noting. First, whether you fly domestically or internationally, Tuesday is always a cheap day to fly, and Wednesday usually is too. Second, international flights leaving the U.S. are either most expensive in December or July, depending on the destination. Third, Central America and South America are becoming trendier and command higher airfares, while the South Pacific and the Middle East have lost some steam.

The International Airfare Study covered ten regions:

Canada: 43 days to 10.5 months out is the Prime Booking Window, and 115 days was, on average, the maple syrupy sweet spot. January and October are cheap, while July and December are not.

Mexico: 21 days to 10 months is the Prime Booking Window, and 80 days delivered the fiesta-worthy low fare. Book early for Christmas, but relax if you plan to travel in September, the cheapest month.

Caribbean: Argh!!! 21 days to 238 days be ye Prime Booking Window, and 99 days out marks the spot. December be extra booty, but in September be flights worth looting. *

Central America: 20 to 202 days out is the Prime Booking Window, and 78 days is cheapest on average. As with other lush, tropical destinations, Christmas gets pricey, but September is a bargain.

South America: 23 to 321 days is a wide Prime Booking Window. 84 days was best on average. December will be expensive, and October has the best values.

Europe: 59 days to 10 months is the Prime Booking Window, and 200 days is best on average. To save, book a hub like London or Paris then take a budget hopper to your destination. Avoid July, try February.

Africa: Buy 112 to 10 months out; 199 is best on average. Volatility is low, so don’t stress. Europe visits Africa in July, so book that once-in-a-lifer in February for the best value.

South Pacific: 21 to 321+ days out is the window, and 186 days is best. The average $1,667 fare is rougher than a coconut shell, so find value in May, or be prepared for a spendy December.

Asia: Buy 71 to 287 days out; 160 is best on average. November is cheapest, and December is most expensive. Yes, Asia is a huge region, so use the When to Buy Flights widget to zero in.

Middle East: The window is 83 days to 10.5 months out, and 196 is best on average. Travel in the winter if possible and avoid expensive July. It’s foolishly hot then anyway.

For an in depth look at the regional data, visit the blog: “When Should I Buy My International Airline Ticket?

*We regret to inform readers that our writer walked the plank for those words

About CheapAir®
Headquartered in Calabasas, CA, is powered by a team of 50 travel enthusiasts who use cutting edge technology and superior customer service to simplify the way people shop for travel. Our proprietary airfare shopping engine provides an easy-to-understand view of flight and fare options from across the web, to make trip planning easy and joyful. Only CheapAir provides full apples-to-apples comparisons so you can see and book across different airlines and different flights, not just the lowest fares, but also the best value flights based on quality, comfort, and inflight amenities. For expert travel advice, deals and inspiration, connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

CEO Jeff Klee started in 1989 from his college dorm room after getting a crash course in the airline industry while planning a backpacking trip through Europe on a student’s budget. still takes a creative approach to helping travelers to find the best trips. Along with its sister company, Amtrav for Business Travelers, CheapAir has helped over five million people buy plane tickets with confidence.