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The Ultimate Travel Guide to Finding Cheap Flights

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Finding Cheap Flights

Are you tired of constantly checking flight prices and feeling like you're always missing out on the best deals? Look no further than the Annual Airfare Study for 2023. Their team analyzed more than 917 million airfares in over 8,000 markets across the United States to help you find the best time to book cheap flights.

In this article, we'll provide you with key takeaways from their study, including the best day to book cheap domestic flights, the "Prime Booking Window," the various Flight Booking "Zones," and the effects of seasonality on airfare prices.

When it comes to booking domestic flights, the "best day" to book cheap flights is 70 days before your travel date, on average. However, this can vary based on your travel destination and dates. It's important to keep in mind that airfares can be volatile and change multiple times throughout the lifespan of a trip. On average, fares change 49 times and by an average of $43 each time.

Criteria to Use When Shopping for Domestic Flights

While shopping for airline tickets based on price alone is common, our analysis shows that focusing on the range of dates you're most likely to find the lowest-priced flight for your itinerary can be beneficial. However, if you're looking for specific options like seating arrangements or classes of service, shopping earlier in the booking process may be more helpful.

The Airfare Booking Zones

To simplify the booking process, has created the Flight Booking Zone system. This framework breaks down airline ticket pricing patterns and identifies the best times to buy flights, while also highlighting the tradeoffs of buying flights within each zone. The zones include:

  • First Dibs: Booking flights too far in advance (310 to 212 days in advance) can give you more options, but also tends to cost more.

  • Peace of Mind: Booking flights between 211 to 165 days in advance offers a balance between low fares and available choice.

  • Prime Booking Window: The best time to buy cheap flights is within this window, which is 164 to 46 days in advance of your travel date.

  • Push Your Luck: Waiting until 45 to 14 days in advance may result in higher fares and less availability.

  • Playing with Fire: Waiting until the last minute (13 days or less) can result in the highest fares and least availability.

The Best Day of the Week to Book Flights

Our study found that the best day of the week to book flights is Sunday, followed closely by Monday. Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to have slightly higher fares, while Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays tend to have significantly higher fares.

The Cheapest Day of the Week to Fly

If you're looking to save even more money on your trip, consider flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday, which tend to be the cheapest days to fly. Fridays and Sundays tend to have the highest fares.

The Cheapest Month to Fly

If you have flexibility with your travel dates, consider flying in January, February, or September, which tend to be the cheapest months to fly domestically. On the other hand, June, July, and August tend to have the highest fares.

The Impact of Seasonality on Travel

As expected, seasonality plays a significant role in airfare prices. If you're planning a trip during a peak travel season (like summer or holidays), expect to pay more for your flight. Conversely, traveling during shoulder seasons (like spring or fall) can result in lower fares. By following the recommendations of, travelers can find the best time to book cheap flights and save money on their travel


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