When's the Best Time to Buy a Domestic Flight? The Kiplinger Letter

A new study by CheapAir.com has crunched the numbers.

Smiling, eager girl boarding airplane
(Image credit: Getty Images)

To help you understand what's happening in the travel industry in 2024, and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest…

Eager to book a trip? Purchasing your flight too early could cost you. 

The best time on average, for 2024, to buy a domestic airline ticket is 42 days before you travel, says a new study by CheapAir.com, an online travel agency. That’s a lot closer to your travel date than in previous years. 

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Still, that doesn’t mean that airline tickets should be purchased at exactly that time, as other considerations affect airfares, such as destination and date. Typically, a flight’s price changes several times in its lifetime, changing an average of $98 per shift, says CheapAir.com. 

For the second year in a row, the cheapest day of the week to fly domestically is Wednesday. Tuesday is the second cheapest. The most expensive? Sunday. 

Of course, the time of year matters. Summer flights typically cost more than winter. January is the cheapest month, followed by February. And November and July are the most expensive. 

Waiting until the last minute comes with risk. Usually, the final days before a flight see big fare hikes, though sometimes there are last-minute bargains.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Sean Lengell
Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter

Sean Lengell covers Congress and government policy for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in January 2017 he served as a congressional reporter for eight years with the Washington Examiner and the Washington Times. He previously covered local news for the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune. A native of northern Illinois who spent much of his youth in St. Petersburg, Fla., he holds a bachelor's degree in English from Marquette University.