Cheapest Days to Fly article from US News & World Report

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 Source: US News & World Report

Here is an article from US News & World Report about the cheapest days to fly. I wanted to share my experience as it relates to each one. (see my comments in blue)

Book six weeks in advance. Passengers pay the lowest price, nearly 6 percent below the average fare, if they buy six weeks before their flight, according to a study by the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC). After compiling data from every U.S. travel agency over the last four years, it determined that most people booked the cheapest airline tickets 42 days in advance. But the six-week rule isn't necessarily a surefire strategy for snagging the cheapest fare. "This is just a trend," explains Chuck Thackston, ARC's managing director of data and analytics. "Airlines will make valuable deals available all the time. But, on average, we see this 42-day approach works. - This generally holds true in my experience, but you can still get good prices up until 30 days before the trip. I just booked my Mexico vacation 30 days in advance and is happy with the price I found. 
 
Scan for morning deals. Airlines only post a limited number of seats at a reduced fare at night, so Thackston advises snagging seats early. "Those tickets may sell out later in the day," he says. The early morning is the time you'll see most of these deals available, although a few airlines release discounted tickets throughout the day. – True. Most of my vacation bookings were deeply discounted, and I found that seats were very very limited. There’ve been times where we did not have assigned seats and arrived early at the airport to get seat assignments at check in.

Best time to buy:
Tuesdays at 3 p.m. Eastern. If you don't find the discounts you're looking for in the early morning, a study by Farecompare.com says the best time to buy airline tickets and shop for travel (domestically) is on Tuesday at 3 p.m. Eastern. However, George Hobia, founder of AirfareWatchdog.com, argues that the best deals vary frequently, so there's not one specific day or time of the week to buy. – Disagree. This has never worked for me. I’ve found excellent deals at odd times. Last year we booked a trip to Aruba and locked in the best deal at the Marriott at 11:30 pm on a Saturday night. When we checked the next morning and weeks leading to the trip, price did not go below what we paid.

Cheapest day to fly: Wednesday. According to a recent Farecompare.com study, the cheapest day to fly is Wednesday for domestic travel. "The day with the most seats is likely to have better supply, and thus ... more empty seats that require discounting to fill the plane—meaning they have to release more seats at their cheapest price point," according to the website. Other low-cost days to fly are Tuesday and Saturday, says Farecompare (Friday and Sunday are the most expensive days to travel).- Totally Disagree. This is not a one size fit all rule. Planes have been filling up more and more everyday.  This rule has never worked to my advantage. Just be flexible with your dates, and sometimes you just have to work your vacation around the cost of the flight. I generally fly out on Sundays or Mondays, and was always able to secure the lowest priced flights. I most recently booked a trip for my Mom to California. She is actually flying out this Saturday. This was one of the Jetblue deals on dealspl.us. 

Fly out early. The cheapest flight is typically the first flight of the morning. "Yes, that means you have to get up at 4 a.m.," says Rick Seaney, chief executive of Farecompare.com. The next-cheapest flight times are during or after lunch or at the dinner hour. "Of course, the absolute cheapest time to fly is on those limited routes with red-eyes," he says. -  Not necessarily true. It’s the luck of the draw. I flew out at 8pm in February to California, and the airport was like a ghost town. I was ecstatic obviously because we went through security and check in in 15 minutes.

Check low-cost airlines individually. Comparison sites like kayak.com don't necessarily do all the work for you. Some low-cost airlines, like Southwest in the United States and Ryanair in Europe, don't allow their tickets to be quoted on popular comparison websites, says Seaney. So be sure to check them separately. And do your homework to make sure the so-called "low cost" airline doesn't tack on extra fees that drive up the cost, like a bloated baggage-check charge, which Seaney says is a tactic employed by some of the budget airlines. Agree – A lot of portals (ex: Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity) do not list flights from specific airlines, and as a consumer, this limitation may affect your wallet.

Sign up for free alerts on AirfareWatchdog.com. Almost every major online booking site offers airfare alerts that ping you when fare prices fall. AirfareWatchdog.com stands out from the pack by using people to vet deals rather than computer systems. "We only send updates when we think we've found a good deal, whereas other sites might update you when a flight drops $2," says founder George Hobia. – Yes, this is a good idea. Farecompare.com is also a good one to use. You will get notifications when you flight prices have dropped.

Build a relationship.
"The question isn't how much is it to fly from here to there, the question is, 'Who's asking?'" Brancatelli says. If you're an elite member of the airline's frequent-flyer program or if you have a credit card that's tied to the airline, you automatically have a leg-up on other travelers. "The more the airline knows you, the more it tailors its pricing to you," Brancatelli explains. Credit cards tied to the airlines now offer perks that were once standard, such as free checked bags, priority boarding, and seat selection, so they may be worth signing up for if you fly frequently on one airline. – This definitely helps. Sign up for every airline membership that’s available because you never know what you’ll be flying. I have a Jetblue credit card, so I am more inclined to fly Jetblue. I have seen and known people that have gotten bumped to first class just by asking and by being a frequent flyer. At check in, our whole travel profile is made available to the agent checking you in. When you ask at check in, the agent is able to make a determination based on what appears on the screen.    
lilywow posted Apr 19, 2012
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9 Comments
maven3
Thanks for the tips and your comments! I know many of these, but will keep the rest in mind next time I'm looking for airfare.
maven3 (rep: 5.23k) posted Apr 19, 2012
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gangstabarbie
I'd think you'd have enough experience to be a travel agent !! Awesome tips ! I assume you must enjoy, no I mean LOVE to travel ;) ... Thanks for your intake
gangstabarbie (rep: 9.67k) posted Apr 20, 2012
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lilywow
@gangstabarbie - thank you. I am still very amateur, but I definitely get a kick out of the savings.
lilywow (rep: 8.32k) posted Apr 20, 2012
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nthsll
The thumbs down Nazi seems to be back. Who would disapprove of this?

Great tips Lily. One I would add is that sometimes, searching sites like Expedia for all inclusive deals can save money over airfare and hotels separately. Last year, I got an all inclusive to Cancun for 6 nights for 2 for 1800. I'm not sure at the time that I could have driven to Florida for that cheap.
nthsll (rep: 12.4k) posted Apr 20, 2012
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nimrodboy3
thanks for the info. i like how you put in your own comments. i feel like nowadays there's no real way to save..you just need to be at the right place at the right time. so many specials occur randomly and they only last for a short amount of time..sometimes i'll monitor flights for months..and then two weeks after i think i've gotten the best deal..blam..flights open up for way cheaper..i don't get it..and i've stopped trying to figure it out :P..

i do recommend doing stuff like priceline where you get to name your own price, though..that usually saves you a lot..but there are limitations, so that might not appeal to everyone.

good luck..
nimrodboy3 (rep: 68k) posted Apr 20, 2012
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lilywow
@nthsll - thank u for the tip. In fact that is how I book my all inclusive vacations-with orbitz and expedia. Jetblue also offers flight+ hotel packages too and I have found incredible prices there as well.
lilywow (rep: 8.32k) posted Apr 20, 2012
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lilywow
@nimrodboy- you're absolutely right. I usually start playing around with the deals a month or two before the vacation and usually end up booking about 30 days before. I do notice in general, the vacation prices for 2012 is on the rise.
lilywow (rep: 8.32k) posted Apr 20, 2012
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newguy
Thanks for the tips :)
newguy (rep: 120k) posted Apr 21, 2012
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Stephykin
Thanks for tips
Stephykin (rep: 28) posted Apr 24, 2012
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