The Cheapest Day to Buy Airline Tickets? It’s Sunday, Not Tuesday

(The Dallas Morning News/MCT) -

A company that handles airline-ticket sales for travel agencies has come out with a study of airline-ticket purchases, and found some interesting factoids:

— The cheapest tickets are bought on Sunday, not Tuesday as others have advised.

— The cheapest tickets on domestic flights are bought eight weeks in advance of departure. Eight weeks out, the average fare of $409 was 19.2 percent below the average domestic fare of $496.

— The cheapest tickets on international flights are bought 24 weeks in advance of departure. At 24 weeks out, the average fare of $1,004 was 26.6 percent under the average international fare of $1,368.

The findings, from the Airlines Reporting Corp., are based on ARC’s study of airline-ticket purchases from January 2013 through July 2014. It updates and slightly changes findings from a similar January 2012 study of 2011 ticket purchases.

In the 2012 study, the cheapest domestic tickets were bought six weeks in advance. ARC didn’t look at international tickets in that study.

Chuck Thackston, ARC’s managing director of enterprise information management, said these are only broad findings.

“Air-ticket pricing is dynamic, and ARC isn’t advising anyone to purchase tickets only at these times during the sales cycle, as there is no guarantee they will receive the lowest price; it is just what the data pattern indicates during the study period,” Thackston said.

Thackston said the latest study is “significant because it reveals that not only have the lowest airfares shifted from six to eight weeks out for domestic travel, but the savings are markedly greater on a percentage basis. It was also interesting to see that the data showed the least-expensive tickets were purchased on a Sunday as opposed to Tuesday, which is a common belief.”

The ARC study, which looked at nearly 130 million tickets worth $94 billion bought in the United States, did find that Tuesday was the cheapest day for Monday-Friday purchases.