There are many ways to save money on flights.
But booking airline tickets on a certain day of the week isn’t one of them, according to data from Google Flights.
Booking in the middle of the week – especially Tuesdays around midnight – is often cited as the best time to buy flights. But in the past five years, prices for US airline tickets purchased on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays have been only 1.9% lower, on average, than those purchased over the weekend, according to Google Flights.
“If your flight is only two weeks away, don’t wait for Tuesday to get around — book your flight now in case the price goes up” yesterday, James Byers, Google Flights Group Product Manager, wrote in a blog post.
Strategies That Work
While the day of the week that travelers book may not matter much, the day of travel does, according to Google Flights research, which examined five years of historical flight data from August 1, 2017 to August 1, 2022.
“On average, flights leaving on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday were 12% cheaper than weekend flights,” Byers wrote. “If you exclude international destinations, the potential savings jump even higher to 20%.”
Travelers looking to save money should avoid traveling on Sundays, according to Google Flights.
Westend 61 | Getty Images
Another common strategy — booking early — also works, according to the data. For US domestic flights, airfares were at their lowest between three and eight weeks before departure, with fares “low” for 44 days, according to the research.
Non-stop flights cost on average about 20% more than connecting flights, according to Google Flights, but flights with layovers also increase the risk of interruptions.
A survey by travel insurance company World Nomads shows that more than 1 in 3 respondents have spent up to $250 on flights, meals or hotels due to flight delays or cancellations this summer, while 12% reported spending between $500 and $1,000 .
More ways to save
Passengers with flexible flight days can use the “date grid” function in Google Flights to quickly check the cheapest departure and arrival dates in a given week.
Those who want to travel for a specific duration – say, two weeks – but are flexible about time, can use the Price Graph function to see the cheapest flight times as well.
Price tracking also eliminates the need to search over and over to check the price from your desired track. Find the route once, press the Track Prices button and Google Flights will send notifications of flight price changes via email.
Best times to book
Based on its historical data, Google Flights also suggests the “best times” to book peak period flights and popular routes.
Travelers hoping to save money on airfare to Europe are advised to plan as early as possible, while summer vacationers can consider making plans weeks, rather than months, in advance.