When is the Best Time to Book Airfare?
When to book flights is a question that torments even the most experienced of travelers. Who hasn’t sat in front of the computer wondering: Do I wait for a better deal, or is this the best I’m going to see? There are no hard-and-fast rules for hitting the right booking window. A recent report from online travel agency CheapAir found that, historically, the lowest average fares have been available seven weeks before departure. Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), which manages airline ticket sales for U.S. travel agencies, conducted a similar study and located the best airfares six weeks prior to flying. But that window changes dramatically depending on where you are traveling—and when.
Of course, all of these booking windows are estimates and should be taken as guidelines rather than rule of law. As George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog, says: “If there were an established best time to book, airlines would identify it and hike fares accordingly.” Consider yourself warned.