CheapAir.com’s 5th Annual Airfare Study Reveals the Best Time to Buy Airline Tickets

CALABASAS, CA (March 21, 2019) – CheapAir.com today published its 5th annual Airfare Study, which crunched 917 million airfares in more than 8,000 markets to reveal the best and worst times to buy domestic airline tickets. Fares changed an average of 61 times after going on the market, a shade below 62 times last year. On average, the cheapest ticket is available 76 days before departure. Travelers beware though: getting the best fare is not that simple.

“Five years ago, we started crunching airfares because so many travelers felt like the market was volatile and random,” said Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir.com. “Today, we’re seeing that there are stable patterns. If you know the basics, you can almost always buy within a few percentage points of the lowest price.”

For the first three years of the study, 54 days out was the best bet. That number climbed to 70 days in 2018 and is now up to 76. It seems like early-bird buyers are at an advantage in most instances.

Another factor is the day travelers fly. Tuesday followed closely by Wednesday are, on average, the cheapest days to fly. Traveling on a Tuesday rather than a Sunday, the most expensive day, saves $79 on average. The day of the week someone clicks “buy” doesn’t matter.

To help travelers make informed decisions, CheapAir.com identifies 6 “Booking Zones,” to illustrate when you can buy during the life of an airline ticket. These zones predict what travelers are likely to pay at every stage of a ticket’s life, and each has its pros and cons:

First Dibs. 203 to 315 days in advance. Pay a $50 premium but maximize seat choices.
Peace of Mind. 116 to 202 days in advance. Pay $20 extra and still get good seat choices.
Prime Booking Window. 20 to 115 Days in Advance. The sweet spot. Book here to pay less.
Push Your Luck. 14 to 20 days in advance. The “Dirty Harry” range for punks who feel lucky.
Playing with Fire. 7 to 13 Days in Advance. Pay an extra $135 on average. Ouch.
Hail Mary. 0 to 6 Days in Advance. An unexpected trip will cost $220 extra on average.

For a given route, prices can be more volatile than the averages would suggest. Always check specific itineraries with CheapAir.com’s When to Buy Flights Widget. To mitigate the risks, CheapAir.com is the only site to offer Price Drop Payback™ which reimburses customers with a travel voucher up to $100 per ticket if prices drop after they book their fare.

For more information and data, visit the Best Time to Buy Flights Study.

About CheapAir.com®
Headquartered in Calabasas, CA, CheapAir.com 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 CheapAir.com 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. CheapAir.com 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.