Airfare deals: The cheapest dates for summer flights

Airfare deals: The cheapest dates for summer flights


The airlines would be perfectly happy to charge top dollar for all summer plane tickets, but lucky for us, they can’t because some days simply aren’t popular with travelers. So, the airlines give us an incentive in the form of lower fares. These guidelines will help you find the cheapest days to travel in the U.S. and Europe.

Fly cheaper days of the week

This is a general guideline for cheapest days of the week, but may not hold true for every flight to every city. Always compare fares, and you’ll know for sure.

• U.S. domestic flights: Less popular/cheaper days to fly are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.

• Europe flights: Less popular/cheaper days to fly are Monday through Thursday.

Tip: If you can’t arrange your itinerary so both departure and return flights fall on one of these cheaper days, just fly one of them and you’ll still save something.

Fly cheaper weeks

Flyers who will really reap the savings here are those who can be flexible.

• U.S. domestic flights: The best deals are found in the first couple of weeks in June, and in late August. Prices begin to drop Aug. 20 for midweek departures, followed by another drop on Aug. 27 for departures on all days of the week.

• Europe flights: Prices rise for departures on or after June 22. This is followed by two price drops, one in the second week in August followed by another in the second week of September.

Tip: In terms of weather, crowds and airfare prices, September is an excellent time to visit Europe.

Make holidays cheaper

Holidays are usually expensive times to fly, including the period around the Fourth of July, which falls on a Thursday this year.

The weekends before and after the holiday will be expensive because airlines know that’s when it’s most convenient for many people.

Check out prices on the holiday itself; this is often the cheapest time to fly (this is also true for Christmas Day and Thanksgiving). Take off early in the day and you won’t miss a moment of the picnic or fireworks.

The time to shop for U.S. and international tickets for summer is now. There is never an unlimited number of deals, and you want to find yours before they’re all snapped up.

FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney is an airline industry insider and top media air travel resource. Follow Rick (@rickseaney) and never overpay for airfare again.

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