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Believing there’s just one optimal day a week to save on flights — and that day is Tuesday — is the stuff of legends. And like all good legends, there is some truth to it … but it’s not the full story.
The reality is that flight prices change constantly and at all hours of the day, adjusting to real-time demand. Airlines don’t restock on the same day every week like a grocery store, so you won’t find deals by waiting until Tuesdays to book. However, you might find some modest savings if you’re willing to fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday, when there’s less demand than usual.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
Best day to book a flight
There is no single day of the week that is best to book a flight. You can find deals any day of the week since flight prices fluctuate with demand.
Airlines might offer sales, increase the number of seats on a route or even lower prices to match a competitor, so there’s no real pattern in what day of the week has the best deals.
Best day to fly
We analyzed data collected by Hopper — a travel booking app — from January through May 2022, for departures in the month of April. Here’s what the data says about the best day to fly.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest days to fly domestically
The cheapest days to depart if you’re flying within the U.S. are midweek — generally Tuesday or Wednesday.
For economy tickets, Tuesdays are about 24% lower than peak prices on Sundays, which translates to savings of about $85 per ticket.
The same is generally true for business class and first class travelers.
Saturday and Monday flights can help you avoid the Sunday rush
Saturdays and Mondays are the next cheapest days to fly after midweek flights. The average airfare is about 13%-15% lower on these days. That means if you move your trip just one day forward or one day back from Sunday, you can usually save about $50 per ticket.
Wednesdays and Thursdays are the cheapest day to fly internationally
Meanwhile, international flyers would be wise to leave on Wednesdays, which are the cheapest day to depart for an international trip. That said, there isn’t a huge difference in price across the different days of the week.
By leaving on a Wednesday, you’ll only be saving about 12% compared to the most expensive day (Sunday) — and compared to the 24% difference between the cheapest and most expensive days to fly domestically.
Tips to find cheap flights any day of the week
Book one to three months in advance
Even though there’s no day of the week that consistently has cheaper flights, there is a time period in which you should book before prices go up.
Scott’s Cheap Flights, an email newsletter with flight deals, recommends booking one to three months in advance for domestic flights to avoid any price surges in the weeks leading up to the departure date. Last-minute flight deals aren’t super common and you risk not getting a seat at all because your desired flight might completely sell out. If you’re flying internationally, you’ll want to look two to eight months out.
Set a price alert
Let a computer program do the work for you. Instead of you checking flight prices every day, set a price alert on the travel search engine of your choice — whether it’s Google Flights, Hopper, Skyscanner or Kayak. They’ll send you an email when they see the price drop.
Rebook if you find a cheaper price
Most airlines have adopted more flexible change and cancellation policies, which is making it easier to rebook your flight to save money.
First, you’ll have to make sure that the original flight you booked will not have change or cancellation fees. For most airlines, that applies to most domestic flights (except if you book basic economy) and some short-haul international flights.
Then, if you find a better deal, you can cancel your flight and rebook (on the same airline or a different one) to get the cheaper price. Be aware that you might only get a travel voucher or credit if you cancel, so you should only use the option if you are fairly confident you will fly with the original airline again within one year.
Be flexible with destination, airport and dates
The golden rule of cheap travel remains: Be flexible. Use Google Flights to see if there are cheaper places to go by leaving the destination field blank when you search. Check nearby airports if you’re set on a destination. And use the calendar views to find lower prices on different dates. After all, the best day to book a flight and the best day to fly is when it’s cheapest, and that could vary depending on when and where you are going.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card