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Tips

Is It Really Cheaper to Book Flights on a Tuesday?

By Julia Hammond
Read time: 5 minutes

The internet is filled with tips and tricks for finding flight deals — some of which have turned out to be myths. One you may have heard is that if you want a cheap flight, you should book it on a Tuesday afternoon. As the story goes, airlines release sales and seats on that day, so it makes sense to be first in line. But these days, technology and tracking tools make airfare pricing much more dynamic, enabling carriers to lower fares when demand is sluggish and on particular routes that need a boost. Find out below when the best time is to book your next flight. 

Why You Might Want to Book on a Sunday Instead

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According to numbers crunched by the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), one day stands out when it comes to sourcing cheap flights — and it’s not Tuesday. The organization analyzed data from millions of fares, combining it with information from OAG to draw their conclusions. ARC’s 2024 Air Travel Hacks Report, published in conjunction with Expedia, found that purchasing air tickets on a Sunday gave consumers savings of up to 13% compared with other days of the week. Lower fares were found for both domestic and international routes and across economy and business cabins, though the percentage discount varied. The figure takes into account average round-trip ticket prices for January through August 2023. The most expensive day to book? That would be Friday. 

But Really, the Best Day to Book is When You Find a Cheap Deal

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While the data suggests that booking on a Sunday is, typically, the cheapest time to part with your cash, as with all averages, it doesn’t always hold true. In that case, how do you know when you’re getting a good deal? Constant fare fluctuations and dynamic pricing make the task difficult — even if the airline claims it’s running a “sale.” 

To be more certain that you’ve found a deal, use an online price tracker to help identify how the current fare compares to its historical highs and lows. Try Hopper’s Price Prediction tool, Skyscanner’s Price Alerts, or Google Flights to ensure you don’t miss competitive fares for specific routes. How they work is fairly straightforward: Enter desired travel dates, destinations, and any other preferences (such as non-stop flights) and you’ll receive a notification when a cheap fare pops up. You could justifiably argue that’s the day that’s the best time of the week to book, no matter what day of the week it happens to be.

Plan Ahead to Understand What Constitutes a Bargain

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Tracking fares for an extended period may help give you the confidence to pull the trigger on a flight, but the market favors those who plan ahead. According to Hopper’s 2024 Travel Booking Hacks summary, there’s a sweet spot for finding the best fare deals. For domestic flights, travelers should take a look at prices three or four months out and make their decision by around a month beforehand. Unless it’s unavoidable, they recommend you should never book later than three weeks ahead of departure. 

For those traveling overseas, the company advises beginning your research seven to eight months before travel. How soon to book depends on where you’re headed, but usually Hopper recommends booking between two to seven months in advance. As you follow the ups and downs for your chosen route, you’ll get a feel for which day tends to be the cheapest for booking, enabling you to jump on a bargain.

Sign Up for Email Alerts to Take Advantage of Flash Sales

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Airlines drum up business with seasonal sales, and some of them are better than others. Among the most popular are Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers. In 2023, as reported by Afar, travelers could take advantage of sizable discounts from major airlines such as Delta, JetBlue, Hawaiian, Southwest, and Alaska Airlines. This also may be the one time of year when the Tuesday myth still holds up — Travel Tuesday, as the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving has become known, saw a number of attractive offers. 

Some airlines — particularly low-cost carriers — also counter periods of lower demand with flash sales. For instance, in February 2024, Norse Atlantic Airways offered one-way “Economy Light” fares from New York, Miami, and Orlando to London, Paris, or Oslo for as little as $99 each way. In either type of promotion, the number of seats is usually limited, and those headline prices soon sell out. As sales can be advertised on any day of the week, it’s a good idea to sign up for email alerts from a number of airlines serving your home airport. 

You Can Offset a Day-of-Week “Mistake”

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Sometimes, you just need to book a flight when it’s convenient for you. Perhaps you like acting on impulse, need to secure time off work, or are traveling with a group of friends who can only get together to plan at a particular time. What if you miss out on those fabled Tuesday deals? Aside from seasonal and flash sales, there are other hacks you can employ to save money on your airfare — and they work on any day of the week. 

In general, they involve working out what everyone else doesn’t want. Choose the first flight out in the morning — which has the best chance of avoiding delays — or the last one in the evening. Choose a less popular airport near your first choice. Avoid peak season and holidays when everyone’s fighting for seats. Play around with what are known as “open jaw” flights — flying into one city and home from another, completing the middle section of your journey over land or with another airline. At the end of the day, if it’s the best price you can find within the parameters you’ve set yourself, you can call that fare a good deal.  

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