Science of Buying Flight Tickets

Victoria International Airport

Best times to purchase tickets. Photo is of Victoria International Airport in British Columbia.


There is research that spells out the cheapest 1) days to fly, 2) times to fly and 3) days to actually purchase tickets.

Cheapest Days to Fly
I knew that the weekdays—Tuesday and Wednesday—were the cheapest days to fly. But, like the rest of us ordinary folk, I didn’t know Wednesdays are cheaper and then Tuesdays followed by Saturdays. According to the sites, CheapAir.com and FareCompare.com, Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive days to fly and the cost for flights the rest of the days not mentioned lie between Tues/Wed and Fri/Sun. These are for domestic flights.

Cheapest Times to Fly
Of course, the cheapest tickets in terms of times to fly are the least desirable times, and they are very early morning flights, mid-afternoon flights, and very late flights. For me, I take the red eye for international trips because of cost and productivity. Sleeping is a productive activity. If you’re going to Europe or Asia or anywhere the flight is going to be over five to six hours, take the red eye flights so you can sleep during the flight. The lights in the plane will be turned off. Plus, kids generally tend to sleep as well so you won’t have to deal with as much noise.

When to Purchase Tickets
Yes, the earlier the better. However, you may not know the following. Cheap Air study shows 49 days before take off is when flights are cheapest. However, Huffington Post lists 54 days before take off as the optimal time to purchase tickets. These are for domestic flights. Huffington Post article lists the time frame for purchasing international tickets and each country region varies. Importantly, don’t purchase tickets within 29 days of your flight. Cost increases significantly the closer you get to your flight date.

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