If you travel a lot, you could potentially save a lot of money if you buy your airline tickets on a certain day.
Here’s what you need to know…
According to Rick Seaney, CEO of Fare Compare, Tuesday is the best day to buy plane tickets.
More specificially, 3PM on a Tuesday is the absolute best time to buy your airline tickets!
Usually, when an airline wants to launch a sale, it will do so late Monday. When the other airlines see this, they immediately go into competitive mode, and begin lowering their own prices to match the first one’s sale. All the airlines that plan to join in on this “matching” will have completed the process by early Tuesday afternoon, so by 3 p.m., shoppers will have the most “good prices” to choose from.
Note: usually that original sale ends in just two or three days, and the matching fares of the other airlines will disappear by then as well, if not sooner. Remember, if all those sale prices disappear in a single day, that’s it, they are gone. The airline is not going to put up a fresh supply of cheap seats to meet the demand. It just doesn’t work that way. — Source
In case you’re wondering, Rick says Tuesdays and Saturdays are the next best days to buy plane tickets.
Peter Greenburg, Travel Editor for CBS News, has the same theory — but he takes it a step further.
Here’s his rationale:
Fare wars are started by the weakest competitors, and the big guys tend to be the ones to raise fares. And all of that tends to happen on Fridays … Let’s say Airline A decides to raise fares. It usually does so at a late hour on a Friday night. By Saturday, Airline A’s major competitors will probably match that fare increase. Remember, I said some, but not all, of the majors will match that fare. By late Monday, depending on how that new fare is doing in the marketplace, Airline C might jump into the battle and offer an even lower fare, so look for all the other airlines to rush to match that one – usually by Tuesday – and the war is on.
Prices might go even lower on Wednesday. And that’s when you strike. Wait any longer than Wednesday, and you may be in trouble. The wars usually end by Thursday morning. Why? Friday is just around the corner! And the cycle starts all over again. What’s the best time to buy your ticket on Wednesday? One hour after Tuesday midnight (1 a.m. Wednesday morning). Source
For the record, Wednesday at 1AM as the best day and time to buy plane tickets is also supported by Fodors Travel Wire.
Summary: The Best Day & Time To Buy Plane Tickets
Travel experts have long said Tuesday is when sales are most often in place, which is true. An analysis of domestic fares shows that Wednesday also has good — and occasionally better — ticket prices. Source
Specifically, if you’re going to buy your plane ticket directly from the airline, then stick to Wednesday from midnight to 1AM in the time zone of the airline’s home base — their headquarters.
That’s when the computer systems of most airlines get rid of the reserved but unbooked lower fare reservations. Most of us at one time or another have booked a reservation, then let it go without purchase. Snap-up these discounted fares right after this happens and you’re likely to get a significant discount. Source