Cheapest Day to Buy Flights

Brianna Mills, 19.04.18
Alternative Thrift Shop

Cheap flights. We've all Googled it. Whether it's a business trip, you're heading home to see family or you're off on your summer holidays, you want to know you're getting a good deal. And the internet is happy to help. The online world is cluttered with tips for thrifty air travellers, Alternative Airlines included. Blogs, articles and YouTube tutorials are all desperate to answer your questions: Is there a cheapest time to buy flights? Is there a cheapest day to buy flights? If I book flights during a solar eclipse while praying to Thor will I save some money on flights?!

Watch our minute long video to help you find your next cheap flight!

The top cheapest flight buying myths & questions

Before we dive into answering the question of 'is there a cheapest day to buy flights?', here are a few of the biggest cheap flight finder questions and myths debunked.

How far in advance should you book flights?

Passengers pay the lowest price, around 6% below the average fare, if they buy their tickets six weeks before their flight. That's the golden rule thousands of travel blogs and articles swear by.

It's taken from a study by the Airlines Reporting Corporation, a company that processes ticket transactions. That study was done in 2012. 2012 was the year of Gangnam Style. Things have changed since then.

If you don't believe us, the same company repeated the study two years later. In this report, it stated that the overall lowest average ticket price for domestic flights can be found 57 days in advance of departure. The lowest average ticket price of international flights was found to be 171 days before departure. In 2 years there had been a massive shift in what days were considered the cheapest to buy flights.

confused Trying to decide on the best day to book your flights can be a mission

Desafortunadamente, este secreto de vuelo barato no se convirtió en la regla de oro del vuelo. No es tan pegadizo como la regla de 6 semanas. Sin embargo, muestra cuán rápido pasan de moda estos días más baratos para comprar reglas de vuelo. En el mundo del hallazgo de vuelos baratos, si no se ha realizado un estudio en los últimos 18 meses, tómelo con una pizca de sal.

Do flights get cheaper closer to the date?

Perhaps what you can take away from the 6 week and 57 day rules is that there's such a thing as booking too early, especially for short-haul and domestic flights.

According to these two studies, along with many others on the internet, the cheapest time to buy flights is almost never when they're first released. This means that if you plan your weekend break months and months in advance just to save money on flights, you're wasting your time.

So, yes, flights do get cheaper as the date gets closer. But, be mindful that at some point, they will most likely will go back up.

Do airlines increase prices based on searches?

The idea behind this is that once you've searched for a flight on a travel or airline website, that website recognises that you're interested in that specific route and it will release a browser cookie that will increase the price the next time that you search for flights for the same route on the same website.

There have been many studies on this where people have ran multiple searches with and without cookies attached to their browser and compared the findings of each search. These studies have produced various results. Sometimes flight prices do increase, sometimes they don't. The one constant that appears in these studies is that on the cases where flight prices do increase, there's not enough consistency to attribute the price change to the cookies attached to the browser.

From our perspective, while we can't speak for other flight booking websites, we want to 100% assure that this isn't something that we do at Alternative Airlines. All of the prices we display are sourced from a live system, from which the price is determined by the airline itself.

Are flights cheaper on Tuesdays?

Según Internet, el mejor día de la semana para comprar vuelos es un martes. Aparentemente, esto se debe a que las aerolíneas anuncian ofertas los lunes por la noche. Para el martes al mediodía, otras aerolíneas están tratando de igualar esas ofertas. Así que los martes por la tarde son el mejor momento para buscar boletos aéreos reducidos.

El primer problema con esto es que la tarde del martes varía dependiendo de en qué parte del mundo se encuentre. Su martes por la tarde puede ser diferente a la persona que produjo esta estadística.

The second problem is that it really doesn't hold up. While it’s often cheaper to fly on Tuesdays to Thursdays, airlines do not lower their fares for those who buy tickets on those days of the week. The window changes dramatically depending on where you are traveling and when. That said, we were curious with the internet's obsession with buying cheap flights on Tuesday so we decided to have a look at some Alternative Airlines facts and figures to see if there was a best day to buy flights according to our customers:

Alternative Airlines cheap flight facts

cheapest daay The average amount our customers spend when flying abroad from the UK on different days of the week, in GBP

What's the best day to buy flights?

So, if Tuesday isn't the best day to buy flights and the data to suggest that Thursday and Friday as the best day isn't solid enough. When is the best day to buy flights?

In reality, there isn't one. Honestly, you're much better off putting time and effort into finding the flight that you want and focussing on when you fly rather than when you buy. Whether you buy a flight for when the destination that you're travelling to is out of season or you decide to fly mid-week instead of over the weekend, buying your flights at off-peak times is the most sure-fire way to get yourself rewarded with a good deal.

travel planning

Tips for finding the cheapest flights

Now that it's established that there isn't a cheapest day or time to find flights. Check out our handy tips that give you other ways to find cheap airfare.

¡Seguir mirando!

If you know how much flights SHOULD be, You'll know when you're getting a good deal. If you keep searching for flights, you'll get an idea of what's a rip-off and what's an absolute steal. $550 USD round trip from the UK to Japan? Yes, please! $550 USD round trip from the UK to India? Hmm, you can probably do better. Once you've done a few searches on a search engine like ours, you'll start to see how prices change and know when you've stumbled across a good deal. It's not a quick fix, but it's definitely an effective one.

Se Flexible

You can't expect the cheap flights to appear exactly when you want them. This is where tools like Alternative Airline's Best Fare Finder come in handy. Our Best Fare Finder tells you how much you could save by slightly altering your dates of travel and allows you to see the cheapest time to fly across a week from your original search.

You can also benefit from being flexible in the way you pay and choose to buy flights on finance. Companies like PayPal Credit, Affirm and Klarna allow you to spread the cost of your flights over time. You may not be getting a cheaper flight ticket, but you have more flexibility in your monthly spending, which makes it more affordable.

beach okinawa

Aproveche una larga escala

Often, buying a flight with a very long stopover is cheaper than a regular return. Many people avoid these because they think it has to mean wasting time hanging about a boring airport somewhere. But it doesn't have to be that way — you can use the time to have a an extra, bonus holiday. A stopover can simply be an alternative way to grab an extra adventure and visit more cities without the cost of another flight. Check out our blong that gives tips on how to plan the perfect stopover click.

Stopoverflights

El vuelo más barato no siempre es el mejor valor

Most budget airlines don't include baggage in their initial flight price. If you need checked baggage, you should compare the total price of both flights, including extra baggage and other amenities, instead of just looking at the base fare of the ticket.

Another thing you should take into account when you find a cheap flight is the airport that the flight arrives and departs from. As an example, the price of a flight to Copenhagen (CPG) from London Stansted (STN) might be cheaper than the same flight from London Gatwick (LGW). But, if you're located nearer to Gatwick than you are to Stansted (like Alternative Airlines' head offices are), then you're likely to spend more on travelling to the airport than you save by travelling from the cheaper (but further away) airport.

Know your airports, and the prices of getting to and from those airports and you may save yourself far more money than if you book your flight on a certain day.

Caza de ofertas

The cheapest day to buy flights may just be whichever day you happen to find the best deal!

Check travel and discount websites for sales and promotional fares. This may seem obvious but many people don't bother checking airline websites for flight discounts because it can be difficult to find ones that work. Each discount is so specific that it's difficult to understand how anyone can cash in on the deals!

However, if you look for offers on travel agency and online discount websites, you're more likely to find a general 'money off your purchase' sale. There are loads of voucher websites out there though, PayPal puts on some great discount codes and so does Groupon. It's worth checking through as many as you have time for.

The real cheapest days to buy flights

There's a good chance that the REAL cheapest day to buy flights is actually on 'special offers' days. Keeping an eye on when these kinds of 'special offer days' are may help you find some excellent deals! Days to watch out for include:

Cuando vas hace una diferencia mucho mayor que cuando compras tus vuelos

If you know you have to travel at a busy time of year, keep an eye on what's going on, at both where you are and where you want to fly to. If you're in the UK, you may think you're avoiding the summer holiday rush by booking your holidays for early June. The thing is, if you're flying around the USA, American schools are already on holiday then, driving up air fares.

Los precios de los vuelos no solo dependen de dónde se encuentre, sino a dónde se dirige. Si hay un evento o festival deportivo en el país al que deseas viajar, pagarás más para viajar allí ya sea que asistas al evento o no.

If you know you are going to travel off-peak, you can, if you want, relax and leave your booking until a month or two before departure. Like we said, if the internet has got one thing right, it's that cheap flights are not just about how far in advance you book them. Also be sure to check the dates of low season in your destination to get the best deal.

Vuelos a mitad de semana

Según un estudio reciente de Farecompare.com, el día más barato para volar es el miércoles. De acuerdo con la cita de Jack's Flight Club anterior, es martes o jueves. Creo que es seguro decir que, en general, es más barato volar un día laborable o un sábado. ¿Por qué? Porque es un poco incómodo.

El pájaro temprano atrapa al gusano

Speaking of inconvenience, the pattern continues. Early flights/flights at awkward times are on average cheaper. For example, consider taking a red eye flight. Normally, the less convenient something is, the cheaper it is.

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Updated: enero 2020

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