Tuesday is the day to buy plane tickets. That's what I've always been told by "those in the know."
Over the years, I've managed to score some great deals by following the rule, so I've pretty much accepted it as a travel axiom.
Fortunately for all of us, Expedia and Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) ran the numbers and results confirm what I've been doing.
The report showed that for coach tickets (both domestic and international) originating from the United States, Tuesday is indeed the cheapest day to buy.
I feel vindicated, but only in part because this is only the case if you buy three weeks in advance, and even then, it's only marginally cheaper than any of the other days between Monday and Friday.
In fact, what the study really showed is when you should avoid buying plane tickets. For tickets purchased three weeks or more in advance, the average price is $515 on Tuesday.
However, that's only $2 cheaper than Wednesday, $3 cheaper than Thursday, $5 cheaper than Monday, and $7 cheaper than Friday.
There is really very little variation there.
However, prices skyrocket when you purchase on Saturdays and Sundays. Expedia's report showed that average tickets prices jump all the way to $543 on Saturday and $539 on Sunday. And this is for bookings nearly a month ahead of travel.
For those of us booking tickets for travel within three weeks, the data changes drastically.
The Expedia report once again revealed very little variation in price among the weekdays, with Tuesday being cheapest at $561 and Friday the most expensive at $571.
That being said, under this analysis, Tuesday is no longer the cheapest day of the week to buy. That honor goes to Sunday, with an average price of just $549.
Ultimately, Expedia concluded that there is no silver bullet to finding the cheapest tickets.
"It's worth noting that because airfares change minute by minute and day by day, anointing one particular day of the week is not necessarily the best predictor of a "good-deal" fare," the travel site wrote.
"In fact, so many factors go into air-ticket prices at any given moment that one could argue there are no foolproof strategies for when to find the best air-ticket price."
The Report, citing George Hobica of Airfarewatchdog.com, noted that airlines can post amazing unadvertised sales at anytime – offering huge discounts on specific routes.
Unfortunately, the true key getting the best deal is to keep constant tabs on the ticket you are looking for. There are alert tools on numerous sites that will notify you when the route and price level you are looking for is available.
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