Last time you went on vacation do you recall when you booked your plane tickets? When as in what day of the week. I check for airfare online regularly for a few weeks in advance of my planned trip until I find the least expensive flight. Like many of you, I have a few “go-to” websites that search through multiple airlines and list the cheapest options. I don’t give much attention to what day of the week I am searching for flights. What I didn’t realize is that Tuesday is the best day of the week to book airplane tickets.
The best deals on airplane fares are apparently available on Tuesdays according to studies conducted by CEO and co-founder of FareCompare Rick Seaney. His findings are based on analyzing airfare data from dozens of studies for over 15 years in the industry as a data scientist. The air fare data is filed by the Airline Tariff Publishing Company (ATPCO), which collects and distributes all airfare data around the world.
According to Seaney, only one percent of all airfares are filed on the weekends. That is one percent of multiple millions. Hence no obvious changes to airfare prices occur on the weekends as many believe to be the case. APTCO files the first airfares of the week at 8 PM (EST) on Monday and subsequently at 10 AM, 1 PM, 4 PM and 8 PM on each weekday. So all the airlines receive the information on Tuesday morning and make changes to availability and prices accordingly. These adjusted airfare prices are entered into the reservation system and appear in the 1 PM feed of the filing. Seaney recommends that the best time to search for flights is about an hour and a half after the 1 PM feed, around 2 -2.30 PM (EST) on Tuesdays. He further explains that most airlines, capacity control the available cheap seats such that the cheap air fares are only available online for about two-thirds of the time for three days. That is between Tuesday and Thursday with a peak time on Tuesday. So the most favorable time to purchase the cheap tickets is on Tuesday afternoons and act swiftly as the seats will fly off (pun intended) quickly.
The next time you are planning your vacation or any other trip I hope this information comes in handy. I wish I had known these statistics earlier for the numerous times I have searched for flights. I will be mindful of this information when I book my next trip.