Scoring a great deal on a flight can feel a bit 'hit or miss.' Sometimes you may get lucky and find a low-cost flight, and other times, not so much. Or, you may have heard that you can find the best deals on a Tuesday or by refreshing your browser, but the truth is, those are just myths. However, there are tactics that you can use to increase your chances of finding a great deal.
Here are some tips to help you find the best airfare:
Start Using Google Flights. Google Flights allows you to compare the most up-to-date flights and pricing of airfares from over 300 airline and online travel partners. Once you've selected the airfare you want to purchase, Google Flights redirects you to book directly with the airline. Through Google Flights, you can also set filters and alerts and browse a pricing calendar to find the cheapest dates to travel.
Don’t Delay When You Find a Great Deal. If you find a low-cost fare that you can afford, it's best to buy it right away versus thinking about it and then going back to find that the same low fare is no longer available. As mandated by the Department of Transportation, all airlines either have to let travelers hold a reservation at the quoted fare for 24 hours without payment or allow a purchased reservation to get canceled within 24 hours without penalty and with a full refund to the original form of payment (most common). So, you can always change your mind and not be out any money if you do so within 24 hours after purchasing the airfare.
Try flying on off-peak days. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are often the cheapest days to fly. You may be able to find the best deals by slightly shifting your departure and or return dates.
Book early, but not too early. Book early, but not too early. Based on the 2021 survey by CheapAir.com, the average best time to purchase airfare for a domestic trip is 64 days before the departure date. Because of the pandemic, Thanksgiving 2021 flights are still 20% cheaper than previous years. The cheapest pre-Thanksgiving flights are on the Tuesday and Wednesday right before the holiday. The Sunday after Thanksgiving is the most expensive travel day of the year. If you wait just two days later (Tuesday), you could save lots of money. As for Christmas and New Year's Eve travel, experts recommend booking early since price fluctuations aren't expected to be significant over the next few months, but demand may be higher than supply this year.