Buying airline tickets too early is no longer a costly mistake, study suggests

Stressing about when to buy airfare at the cheapest rates for that upcoming trip? A new study could help lower those travel-related cortisol levels. A recent study from CheapAir.com suggests the window of time to buy the cheapest airline tickets is now much longer, and there’s (almost) no longer such a thing as buying too early.

The study, which looked at nearly a billion flights, suggests the window to buy cheap flights is now much longer. According to the study, the best time to buy is typically between three weeks form the departure, all the way out to ten months ahead of time, with some variations based on destination.

“The biggest takeaway in this year’s study is that buying early is no longer a bad strategy,” CheapAir.com CEO Jeff Klee said in a press release. “Airlines seem much more likely to open a flight up for sale with some pretty good fares out of the gates. That means travelers aren’t forced to pay higher fares anymore if they want the luxury of booking early to nab the best times and the best seats.” 

Following the study, CheapAir suggests travelers book within the early to mid part of that window to find the flights with the best schedule. The middle part of that window often has the best prices, but tickets saw little variation, around five percent, for booking in the early part of that window.

The study also suggests that flying on a Tuesday and Wednesday is the cheapest departure date for both domestic and international flights. For flights out of the U.S., December and July tend to be the most expensive times to fly, varying some based on the destination.

The study also pinpointed several trends based on the destination, suggesting Central and South America as more popular (read: more expensive) destinations while the South Pacific and the Middle East have decreased in popularity.

best time to book flights cheapair study 2019 international when buy infographic final copy

Flying to Canada? CheapAir suggests booking between 43 days and 10.5 months ahead of time, with the cheapest flights departing in January and October. For travelers that are Mexico-bound, between 21 days and 10 months is the best time to book, with September being the cheapest month to fly. Central America’s best time to book is between 20 and 202 days, while South America has a longer 23 to 321 day window.

Heading to the Caribbean, 21 to 238 days is the best time to book, the study suggests.  Europe’s booking window is best between 59 days and 10 months, Africa’s 112 days to 10 months, South Pacific 21 to 321 or more days, Asia’s 71 to 287 days, and the Middle East 83 days to 10.5 months.

The study compiled the recommendations from monitoring the price changes on about 917,000,000 flights. The travel platform conducts a similar study annually.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and choose what we cover carefully and independently. If you find a better price for a product listed here, or want to suggest one of your own, email us at dealsteam@digitaltrends.com.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.
Business

What can tech companies do to create more women-friendly workplaces?

The days of deliberately excluding women from most workplaces is over, but that doesn’t mean they’re all welcoming. There are ways to recognize and combat unconscious biases to make offices more inclusive.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Gaming

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.
Gaming

If we get a Nintendo 64 Classic, it needs to have these games

The Nintendo 64 introduced a long list of top-tier games, but which were the iconic platform's best? From Mario Party to Ocarina of Time to NFL Blitz, check out our picks for the best N64 games.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Mobile

Google and Huawei offer to pay owners up to $400 for Nexus 6P bootloop fault

Anyone who suffered from the Nexus 6P's dreaded bootloop and can prove it may be in for a financial windfall. Google and Huawei have offered to pay up to $400 to those who purchased the Nexus 6P before a certain date.
Mobile

The FCC and White House want to bring high-speed internet to rural areas

The FCC and the White House unveiled new initiatives to bring high-speed internet to rural areas, including $20.4 billion in incentives to companies to build infrastructure. The FCC also announced ways to speed up the rollout of 5G.
Movies & TV

Disney Plus packs Star Wars, MCU, and The Simpsons too -- all for $7 per month

Disney is bringing the full weight of its massive content library to its own streaming service in 2019. How will Disney Plus compare to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Here's what we know so far.
Computing

Hackers broke into Outlook.com using worker’s credentials, Microsoft says

Microsoft's web-based email services were the target of a security beach. Using a customer support agent's credentials, hackers were possibly able to access email addresses and subject lines, but fortunately not their content.
Business

Weekend box office: Shazam! stays on top while Hellboy flops

Warner Bros. Pictures superhero film Shazam! managed to stay on top of the box office its second week in theaters, beating new releases Little and Hellboy - the latter of which is looking like a major flop.
Computing

Microsoft accelerates carbon reduction plans in new sustainability push

Microsoft wants to accelerate its sustainability goal of becoming a zero-carbon company. To reach those goals, Microsoft is doubling its self-imposed carbon tax to incentivize business divisions in making sustainable choices.
Mobile

Apple and Qualcomm settle all disputes, reach six-year agreement on chips

Apple and Qualcomm have announced that they have settled all disputes between them around the world -- and not only that, but have also agreed to a six-year agreement for Qualcomm to supply Apple with chips.
Mobile

The Department of Justice may prevent the T-Mobile-Sprint merger

T-Mobile and Sprint are getting closer to merging. After a few failed attempts, the two companies announced their merger at the start of 2018. The new T-Mobile could be better positioned to take on the likes of Verizon and AT&T.
Mobile

Intel gives up on 5G modems for smartphones, will focus on other devices

After a delay that saw Intel's manufacture of 5G modems pushed back to 2020, Intel has given up on the 5G modem business, and will focus its efforts elsewhere. But is something else to blame?