When we fly, it’s absolutely imperative that we get the best possible deal, on the best possible day, on the best possible flight. (Travel ego is a very real thing, people. And we have a BIG one.)
As such, we have a few serious rules to live by when it comes to booking plane tickets. These facts and hacks will ensure you never make a flight-related misstep again… well, unless you get stuck in the aisle seat.
Price doesn’t depend on the day you buy a ticket, but on the day you choose to fly.
Recent analysis from CheapAir concluded that Tuesday and Wednesday are the cheapest days to fly, but it doesn’t matter which day you buy those tickets — on average, they’ll cost just $3 more if you buy them on a Sunday than if you buy them on a Wednesday. Some might argue otherwise, but this is promising news for those of us who like to pounce on good deals right when we find them. However…
Fifty-four days before your flight is the ideal time to get tickets.
While the particular day of the week that you book may not make a difference in price, the amount of lag time you have before your flight certainly does. Booking far ahead of your trip — but not too far ahead — will ensure the best prices, according to another CheapAir study. After running the stats on more than four million trips, it turns out 54 days before your flight is the best time to book domestic trips.
You can (almost) always cancel a flight FOR FREE within 24 hours.
If you make a booking mistake — or just want to hold a flight without having to absolutely commit — remember that it’s a federal rule for airlines to give you a refund when you cancel within 24 hours, as long as you’ve booked seven days in advance.
And if you can’t find the ticket you want, sweet talk a rep.
Airline reps are humans — and if you treat them like one, you might score a hidden deal that you wouldn’t find on that fancy new thing called the Internet. Welcome back to the old school.
Earlier flights DO see less delays.
No, it’s not just you: Booking a flight that leaves earlier DOES mean a significantly lower risk of long delays. The rule applies until about 6 p.m. — so experts recommend flying before 11 a.m. or after 11 p.m. to avoid potentially massive delays in both arrivals and departures.
And obviously, two specific days of the year always SUCK.
The Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving are, historically, the most expensive travel days of the entire year.
But one special, unexpected day may be surprisingly cheap.
Need a weekend getaway? Choose Friday the 13th, and you could be rewarded with cheaper ticket prices. Last June, KAYAK data reported that Friday the 13th was the cheapest day of the month to fly in the UK and the sixth-cheapest day to fly in the U.S. Bad luck? We think not.