Best days for booking airline tickets

Connie-AvatarWhether you are planning to book a Himalayan adventure or simply fly across the state you live in, did you know that internet airline tickets are usually discounted between 15% and 25% by Monday night?

By  Tuesday, competitors match or exceed these prices so you may be able to purchase them for an even lower price – so Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the best days to purchase your online tickets.

For example, according to Smart Money dated Jan 28, 2011, a Chicago-Atlanta round-trip ticket for April travel dates cost $209 on Tuesday and Wednesday on American and Delta, but then $301 for the next four days.

When Tuesday rolled around last week, the fare dropped to $219 at both airlines for the April 8-15 itinerary. By Friday it was up to $307 at both American and Delta. Come Tuesday this week, the fare was down to $229”. This is a 33% savings.

And what are worst days to buy airline tickets?

Well, it looks like Saturdays and Sundays are the worst times to purchase because airlines don’t manage their inventory as actively until they come back to work on Mondays.

Although Social Media may change this trend as it appears some airlines are tweeting special fares that are only valid for an hour, or they send messages on their discounts to customers who sign up for fare alerts. By the way, you can get alerted on fares by signing up with

On any alerts for online airfares you are thinking of purchasing, you might want to first go to that airline’s website and check – they might have discounted that exact flight for even less.

How do you get the best price for your airline tickets? Do you have any special programs or tools that you use to save money? I would love to hear back from you.

34 Responses to “Best days for booking airline tickets”

  1. Julie Labes says:

    I usually book my tickets at my travel site but sometimes I do check around the airlines to see if they have specials. I have noticed a difference on different days of the weeks. A couple of weeks ago, I was buying a ticket to NY and didn’t..the next day it had gone up a little and by Friday it had gone up quite a bit. i waited until the following week (Tues) and it had gone down again

    Julie Labes,…The Fierce over 50 feels much younger point and click junkie loves to travel does not use a jogging stroller and before you ask this is NOT my granddaughter..Woman

  2. Tambra Harck says:

    These days I’m flying to LAX about once a month, it seems that the rates don’t change much (until you’re inside the 3 week window then they go up). I wonder, is that because the SFO or Oakland to LAX is considered more of a commuter flight so they just don’t fluctuate?

    BTW Connie, your trips look divine! I love that you provide: “sustainable, responsible tourism coupled with “giving back” opportunities to the local communities we visit.” Exquisite!


    • Connie says:

      Yeah, they seem to be consistent for the LAX-SFO – sometimes you can get lucky though. A few months ago I think Virgin had a $39 fare one way.

      Thanks for the compliment on my web page Tambra. a sustainable vacation in my opinion is one of the best ways to spread our blessings.

  3. I find it so crazy making and anxiety producing to get airline tickets! I tend to use Expedia and then to compare to airlines’ websites. I always search for a few days before I buy, but I never knew about what you are saying in terms of days of the week. I stay away from the real discount options because I fear having a ticket that is “lower grade” and less useful in an emergency. Once when I was in NY after a snow storm, a woman in the terminal who had a certain kind of ticket wasn’t getting options to rebook because of her ticket type. Finally they had pity on her and put her on a plane, but she was really stuck.

    Whew! Don’t like the ticket-buying process (but it does give me a lot to blog about!)

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer

    • Connie says:

      Yes, you are correct Judy. It is frustrating. I have found on many instances the prices I get on Expedia are not that great either.

      I am finding out that Airlines are also less flexible these days – I was also stuck in Chicago overnight enroute to India (SFO to Chicago was delayed) and had to catch the international flight a day late to India because of the weather which could have been disastrous.

  4. Donna McCord says:

    Thank you for the tips on which days to look at flights!I don’t do much traveling, and when I do it is usually fairly short trips using Southwest Airlines, but I have noticed how their fares fluctuate all the time — I get emails from them with notices when they have specials. When I went to Italy last year I was able to get a good flight through Expedia on US Airways that seemed to be the least expensive of any other airlines I looked at. But I am slightly intimidated by all the different options out there, which is why using a travel agent sounds like a relief to me! My daughter uses Student Universe to book her travel and those rates are usually fantastic! You have to prove being a student though to take advantage of that.

    • Connie says:

      Thanks for the tip on Student Universe Donna. That’s good to know. I will have to tell my nephew about it as he is a college student planning to visit his friends in New York during Spring break.

  5. Hi Connie! Most useful blog post thus far for me.
    I will share on my Facebook page.
    Now, if only I could rid myself of my horrible fear of flying! At one point in my life, when I worked in tv, I was on a plane 4-5 times a week. I was still scared, but I think my body/brain realized that you can’t live in fear constantly and my fear response diminished. Nowadays, I don’t travel often due to the nature of the restaurant business. But getting over my fear of flying is on my list of must-do/must-get-over list for 2011.


    • Connie says:

      Thanks very much for your feedback Debbie. Interesting that you should mention fear of flying, I used to be fearless until I experienced a really bad turbulence during a flight in Northeastern India and it literally took me years to get over it. I still get a little nervous when we take off but mostly I try to focus on what I will be doing when I get to my destination. And if the plane hits a turbulence I always remind myself that planes don’t usually fall from the sky during flight and it usually calms me down and does help. Here is a YouTube video with a series of tips from a retired pilot that might help you.

  6. This is great information that you are sharing! I was already aware of this info, along with other travel tips that I regularly receive. Like Donna, I prefer saving my time and paying more by allowing my travel agent handle the bookings. If the trip is a no-brainer, I book via Southwest.

    Rachel Lavern
    Personal Transformation, Enlightenment and Development

    • Connie says:

      That’s great Rachel. I have found that with Singapore Airlines for example, if I work with some travel agents that deal specifically with flights to Asia I am actually able to get lower rates through them that directly from the SQ website.

  7. Great info…never really made the connection that the day of the week made a difference in the flight price. Most of my travel has me on Southwest these days…can’t beat their prices and when you add in the cost of the baggage they are definitely the low price/high service leader.

    Darcie Newton
    Wine not whine. Nature not nurture. Discipline for profit, none for cheese.

  8. Hi Connie,

    Thanks for your very practical post! Practical if you’re flying this week, maybe not next week. Sounds like you’re describing a delicate dance between airline-airline and airline-passenger. I’d expect that as soon as someone “tilts the table”, the timing and dimensions of this elaborate do-si-do will change, too. And broadcasting that mid-week ticket prices are lower than weekend prices will surely tilt the table. How quickly? Anyone’s guess, but as you point out, offers on social media travel quickly. All we know for sure is that things will change.

    I don’t fly much these days, but I’ll stay tuned to your blog for the latest.


    • Connie says:

      Thanks for your comments Robbie. Yes it is a quick changing scenario. Just today I came across a nonstop RT flight from SFO-JFK for $258 but it also has some limitations so it is definitely a delicate balance with the pros and cons.

  9. I have an alert on Airfarewatchdog for San Jose Airport. which helps. I also check the airfares on the airlines as they sometimes have offers you cant find otherwise. Useful to keep in mind the best days for deals, since I sometimes get to travel for conferences and I am happy to travel for work if anyone wants a redesign in another city or country.

    Jennifer Duchene
    Home Makeover Mixtress blending lifestyle and laughter

    • Connie says:

      Thanks for your comments Jen. Glad my post will help with a new awareness of when to look for best deals.

      By the way, what a cool title behind your name – Home Makeover Mistress – very catchy.

  10. Pat Zahn says:

    I did not know that it mattered what day of the week you book…I just thought it was how far in advance, what days you were travelling, and the phase of the moon. Thanks for these nuggets!

    Pat Zahn, Photo Solutions Superhero

  11. I am guilty of the Sunday purchase tsktsk. I am going to follow your suggestion and aim for mid week from now on. It makes sense – most people do not work on weekends so they would look to buy then. Obviously, airlines would raise prices. I wil let you know how it goes…..Rachel

  12. I had no idea. Thanks for the tips. I just started watching and have seen some good deals. Thanks.

  13. Fiona Stolze says:

    This was really interesting to read. I had no idea of what was going on but had already sussed out that Wednesday was a cheaper day to fly over to Canada and had benefitted from this a couple of times. Good to know that it’s a general thing for flights. Thanks.

    Fiona Stolze

    • Connie says:

      Thanks for the comment Fiona. You are already on the right track checking on Wednesdays. I am already keeping an eye out for a fab price on a couple of international flights this year for myself.

  14. I had no idea! I do not do the booking in my family, but will pass this along to my husband. We were planning a trip to Europe this summer until he checked the airfare for a family of four and it was cost prohibitive! I will ask him to look again and to check out your site. Good info!!

  15. Bruce Barone says:

    This is news to me–good news; unfortunately I do not travel by airline often anymore :(

    • Connie says:

      Thanks for your comments Bruce. Even if you are not traveling by air anymore you can now pass the info to others who may not know this who will appreciate saving money on their tickets.

  16. Timely post! I am getting ready to purchase airline tickets for my family of five. Now I know when to do it! Thank you for the great information.

  17. Very timely post for me as we have been looking for flights to the UK. Searched last night and got them a bit cheaper than we found over the weekend so thanks!
    Louise Edington
    Facing Fear For Freedom

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