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Best day of the week to buy an airline ticket

Dear Anita,

I read somewhere that there's one day in the week that is better than all others to buy airfares, what day is that and why?

Jim Wilson
Roanoke, Virginia

Dear Jim,

According to several airline representatives I spoke with, Wednesday is the best day of the week to find the best deals on airfares -- it's also the day when Internet specials are released. Midnight and the wee hours of Wednesday morning are the best times to purchase since airline computers are freshly loaded with the new fares. Also, midnight is when airlines "purge" reservations that were not purchased within the 24-hour window. Conversely, Friday is the worst day of the week since airlines historically raise fares on that day. Friday tends to be the day airlines start their weekly "fare game" cycle whereby at least one airline (usually a discount carrier) starts lowering fares that are then matched or lowered by competing airlines.

When shopping for airfares always do the following:

  • Try different days and times; fares are generally lower on low-demand days and times. The lowest-demand travel days are usually Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. The highest-demand days are usually Friday and Sunday. Low-demand times are often on late-evening flights.
  • Stay over a Saturday night - sometimes the lower fare is available only if you stay over a Saturday night.
  • Lastly, search nearby area airports. When lower fares are sold out at one airport, they may be available at another nearby airport.

I hope I've been helpful.

Anita Dunham-Potter

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