Americans are totally wrong to think this is the secret to booking cheap flights
This logic doesn’t fly.
About six in 10 Americans who have booked flights in the past year think there are particular days of the week when it is cheaper to book a flight, according to data released Wednesday by Priceline.com. The overwhelming winner: Tuesday, with 51% saying this is the day for buying tickets on the cheap. What’s more, 49% of people who say they’ve booked on a certain day to save money did it on a Tuesday.
But they’re wrong. Data show that Tuesday is NOT the best day to book flights if you want deals. An analysis of 921 million flights released this year by CheapAir found that you’re as likely to find deals on a Tuesday as you are any other day of the week. “The average lowest fares by purchase day of week are all within $2. That’s less than a 0.6% difference,” the researchers write.
And an analysis by airfare research site Hopper.com found that Tuesday was only the cheapest day to buy for 1.6% of domestic routes, with Hopper’s chief data scientist telling Moneyish that there “are not really rules of thumb anymore” on what days of the week to buy to score deals. (Incidentally, it is smart to fly on Tuesday or Wednesday if you want deals.)
Americans do get at least one thing right when they book flights: They often book in advance. Priceline found that the No. 1 window in which Americans book their flights is between one and three months before takeoff. That’s smart, according to the Cheapair analysis, which found that, in general, if you want deals on airfare, book at least three weeks and up to 3 ½ months ahead of time. In this window, fares tend to be within 5% of their lowest, the analysis found.
There are a few exceptions to their booking in advance: weddings and holidays among them. Americans waited until four weeks or less before the wedding to book, with 16% waiting until 1-2 weeks before to book. For holidays, the majority booked 1-4 weeks prior to the holiday.
That means they’re throwing away money when traveling to these events. If you try to book less than two weeks ahead of the time you want to fly, you’ll pay $150 more, on average, than those who book three weeks or more out, according to CheapAir. And wait until the day before, and you’ll pay nearly $250 more.
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