ARC is proud to have collaborated with Expedia to release the 2018 Air Travel Outlook Report, “Unlocking How to Save Money on Flights.” The report leverages ARC’s robust air travel data from September 2016 to August 2017 to identify key pricing trends, traveler patterns and top destinations.
Although it’s impossible to guarantee when passengers will get the best deal on an airline ticket, this report analyzes recent air travel data to identify the days when average ticket prices are lowest, the cheapest days to fly, and the best days to purchase tickets for business or economy travel.
The Best Time to Buy
"In most parts of the world, booking economy tickets more than 30 days ahead generates the best prices."
For most economy flights — both domestic and international — the lowest average ticket prices were booked on a Sunday. There are some nuances by local market, however; these can be found on page 21 of the report.
ARC data also indicates that, in most parts of the world, booking economy tickets more than 30 days ahead generates the best prices. The report also dispels the myth that passengers get good deals booking last-minute tickets, stating that “the most cost-effective booking lead time for an economy flight is one month, or even earlier, than the departure date.”
The Best Time to Fly
The best day to travel varies by origin for domestic economy fares, but for international trips, the cheapest fares had a Thursday or Friday departure date (with very few exceptions).
For most international economy flights, the report indicates that booking on Sunday and starting a trip on Thursday or Friday is a recipe for success.
"For most international economy flights, the report indicates that booking on a Sunday and starting a trip on Thursday or Friday is a recipe for success."
Getting the Best Deal on Premium Travel
For travelers booking premium (first- or business-class) tickets to both domestic and international destinations, booking on a Saturday or Sunday saves money compared to booking during the week. Data shows that, on average, travelers got the lowest domestic and international average ticket prices (ATPs) for premium travel on Saturday and Sunday, as business travelers are less likely to book their travel on the weekend.
Premium domestic and international departures had the lowest ATPs on Friday and Saturday. According to ARC’s data, it pays to plan your air travel around these days: The price difference for premium tickets varies widely for both domestic and international fares depending on the day traveled. For international flights, the premium paid for departing on the most expensive versus the cheapest day of the week ranged 9 percent to 43 percent. For domestic flights, the premium ranged 5 percent to 30 percent.
To learn more about Expedia and ARC’s insights on flight prices, passenger trends and growing markets, download the free report.