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The Best Day of the Week to Book Airline Flights
Travel experts bring the art of booking cheap airline tickets directly into your home. (Photo: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images )
Although airlines are crafty with their fluctuating ticket prices, travel websites are working to sort out the airline algorithms and help consumers learn to book at the best times to score a good fare. Travel experts Jessica Labrencis, Peter Greenberg and Rick Seaney all agree: Booking airline tickets early in the week yields the best fares and allows you to spend more of your hard-earned travel dollars where they belong — at your destination.
Early in the Week
Most airlines lower prices or instigate sales on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, according to a study by FareCompare.com and information from Travelocity and Expedia. Therefore, booking early in the week usually yields better ticket prices than travel bookings made over the weekend. Although travel experts disagree on precisely the moment to book your seats, this early-in-the-week mantra is consistent across the board. Keep track of fare sales with email updates from travel or airline websites and book immediately when you see the sales.
Evidence for Wednesday
Greenberg narrows the search even further. He claims that Wednesday is, overall, the best day to buy a ticket. Greenberg says it plays out this way: Airlines usually instigate price jumps on Friday and wait to see if other airlines will match the higher fare over the weekend. If not, the fares will drop again on Monday, and other airlines might try to start a “fare war” to keep lowering prices on Tuesday. By Wednesday, competing airlines will have had a chance to match the price drop. But sales are often pulled by Thursday to make room for weekend price-gouging. Greenberg’s analysis of this cycle brings him to the conclusion that Wednesdays are always the best day to buy.
Evidence for Tuesday night
Expedia’s vice president, John Morrey, does not disagree with Greenberg’s findings, but he also says he does not think consumers need to wait until Wednesday to book. He reasons that because airlines match their competitors’ rates by Tuesday evening, the largest stock of cheap tickets are available late on Tuesday night. Thus, he says the late hours of Tuesday are the best time to book.
Evidence for Tuesday, 3 p.m. Eastern Time