Airfares jolt up and down like a plane caught in turbulence. The airlines use computer systems to set ticket prices based on a complicated mix of factors, including competition, demand, the state of the economy, seasonality, taxes, the number of views on a YouTube cat video — you name it. Ergo, it’s nearly impossible to predict exactly where ticket prices will fall on any given day of the year.
The Worst Days to Fly
Christmas and New Year’s:
The Christmas and New Year’s holiday travel window is more or less a 17-day period that overlaps the two holidays by about five or six days, according to statistics gathered from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Peak days always depend on when the weekends fall in relation to the holidays, since lots of people want to travel over convenient long weekends.
Note that it’s not unusual to see flights departing on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and sometimes the days immediately following or preceding the holidays that are cheaper than departures a few days out, depending on how they fall during the week. If you’re booking a holiday trip, use your booking engine’s flexible dates option to see which days will save you the most money.
Spring break peak travel dates vary by destination, but generally extend from late February through the beginning of April. Most colleges and universities have spring break in March or even late February, while families with school-age children vacation around Easter, which is usually in late March or early April. Watch out for higher fares to beach and family destinations like Florida and the Caribbean during this time.
Summer is high season for myriad destinations and fares are accordingly driven higher by demand. The crest of summer travel is from Memorial Day to Labor Day, during which fares to most U.S., Canadian and European destinations are at their peak. Three-day weekends around summer holidays like Memorial Day or the Fourth of July are particularly expensive times to fly.
If you can put off your trip till mid-September or go in May instead of June, you’ll likely pay less than you would over the summer (not only for airfares but also for hotels once you arrive). Bottom line: You’re going to pay a premium for summer travel to a whole host of places, but there are some exceptions to this rule. Summer is low season for U.S. mountain towns, the Caribbean, parts of Mexico and Costa Rica.
Peak Thanksgiving travel dates are pretty cut and dried year after year, as the holiday always falls on the fourth Thursday of November. The period from Wednesday through Sunday around Thanksgiving wins the award for Busiest Travel Time of the Year.
The Best Days to Fly
Speaking of seasonality, here’s a hard, fast and simple rule: the best days to fly are low-season, shoulder-season or non-holiday travel dates; this will vary based on your destination, largely because of weather.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays:
Travel experts generally agree on the cheapest travel days of the week.Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the two best days to fly if you want to save some coin.
Thursdays and Saturdays:
The next cheapest days of the week to fly are Thursday and Saturday. Saturday might sound like a popular — hence expensive — day to fly. But in truth, most travelers prefer to come back from vacation on Sunday to maximize their time away. The most popular days for business travelers, meanwhile, are Monday and Friday. If you’re eyeing a Saturday flight, watch out for weekend surcharges, which some airlines tack onto ticket prices for Friday, Saturday and Sunday departures.
For more travel tips visit our FB page #KnowBeforeYouGo
Based on article in Independent Traveler.