Start buying your tickets on the best day to book flights and you’ll save up to 20% on airfare instantly. Learn how to use this airline-confirmed travel hack for cheaper flights in our guide!
The Best Day to Book Flights: Our Opinion
Planning your next vacation or business trip is a lot less stressful when you’re confident that you’re getting the best possible price.
More and more people are using handy travel apps and booking services to access the best rates on airfare, but what if you could cut through the red tape and score the best deals just by switching the day of the week you book your flight?
Turns out, you can.
Sunday is widely considered the overall best day to book flights, according to most airlines and travel reporting agencies. Other analyses have pointed to Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday being the best days to book flights, at least domestically.
You can save a good amount – up to 20% – when you book on airline off-peak days. It’s worth learning about and it’s a travel hack you can use for every trip you ever take in the future. Talk about a long-term payoff!
Which day of the week is actually going to net you the most savings and best seating options, though? Let’s take a closer look at each.
Is Sunday the Best Day to Book Flights?
Sunday has been ranked as the best day to book flights for the past 4 years with the data to back it up. Flights may be 5% to 20% cheaper when booked on a Sunday.
So why is Sunday the best day to book flights? What makes it better than booking on, say, a Friday or Monday?
Part of the benefit of booking flights on Sunday is pure cost savings. If you can instantly save money just by switching the day you book your flight, why wouldn’t you do it?
Since budget is a major factor in most people’s travel plans, the (slightly) cheaper prices of booking on a Sunday make it a no-brainer for savings-savvy sojourners.
Booking on a Sunday saves you about 5% on domestic flights and up to 15% on international flights, according to this year’s travel report from Expedia.
If you prefer flying in style, you’re in luck! Booking on a Sunday can net you even bigger savings, with premium class travelers saving 20% more by booking on Sunday instead of Friday.
Note that while Sunday seems to be the overall best day to book flights, it’s not actually the best day to fly. Lots of people fly out or back home on Sundays since it’s the end of the weekend and start of the week.
Google Flights found that you’re better off departing or flying home on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. If you fly at the start of the week instead of on the weekends, you’ll save anywhere from 12% to 20%!
All things considered, Sunday really is the best day to book flights – especially if you’re flying internationally or planning on purchasing premium seating, when you can save even more by booking on a Sunday.
Is Midweek the Best Time to Book Flights?
Google Flights found that midweek – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday – prices are slightly better than prices you’ll get when booking on Monday, Friday, or Saturday.
Ever-so-slightly better, though. You can expect to pay about 2% less when you book a flight during the midweek. That statistic has held up for 5 years, so it doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.
Hopper, a travel booking app, did some flight cost analysis of their own using nearly 8,000 of the most popular domestic flights. They found that Thursday was the best day to book flights overall with a modest cost savings of around $10.
Most sources say Sunday is the best day to book, so how did Hopper come up with Thursday as the top weekday for booking? Let’s break this down a bit further.
This case study pointed to Thursday as being the best day to book flights when you’re flying domestic. It doesn’t apply to international flights, which excludes this little hack for anyone flying abroad.
Hopper’s team also noted that the cost savings are pretty modest when using this travel hack. You might save money, sure. But the total amount you save may be around $10 compared to when you buy tickets another day of the week.
Every dollar saved counts when you’re planning travel on a budget! But if you were hoping for major cost savings to make a bucket list trip more affordable, booking on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday probably isn’t going to cut it.
Overall, booking on Sunday seems to be a better option than booking midweek, at least if you’re planning an international flight. You can save up to 20% by booking on Sunday compared to around 2% when you book midweek.
Thursday can still be a great day to book if you’ll be flying within the country, but don’t expect it to dramatically reduce your costs.
The Worst Day to Book Flights
It’s not only important to know the best day to book flights – you’ll also want to get familiar with the worst days to book. Friday and Saturday are the worst times to book a flight if you’re trying to save money.
ARC’s 2023 report noted that Friday is the worst day to book flights, domestic and international. The reason? More people are booking and flying on this weekday as the weekend approaches.
With increased ticket purchases and flights happening on Fridays, you can be sure airlines raise their prices in response! You can expect flight costs to rise anywhere from 5% to 15% on Fridays for this reason.
Hopper’s 2022 analysis found that Saturday is the most expensive day to book flights, with domestic flights booked at the start of the weekend costing about $10 more than those booked on Thursdays.
Saturday may not be as bad as Friday, but it’s the second-worst day to book flights and worth avoiding if you’re planning a trip on a budget.
If it’s really close to your planned departure date for your trip, any day of the week can be the worst day to book flights.
You’ll almost always pay more for your flight when you book your flight less than 2 weeks from your planned departure date.
Last-minute airfare used to be cheaper – then airlines caught onto the fact that most last-minute flyers were business associates just hopping the next available plane.
Since most of these customers aren’t actually footing the cost of business flights, airlines quickly figured out that they could raise the prices on last-minute airfare without causing much of a fuss.
As Scott Keyes of Going (Scott’s Cheap Flights) put it, “Airlines realized, ‘We’re in the business of trying to make as much money as possible. And what’s going to make the most money…it’s actually to jack up the price on last-minute flights.’’
It may not be the news last-minute, spontaneous travelers were hoping for, but it’s a good thing to know if you’re looking to book the cheapest flights.
Instead of waiting until the last minute, purchase your tickets about a month in advance to see about 10% in savings.
How Far Ahead Should You Book Your Flight?
If you’re a planner, you might be thinking about booking your flight well in advance to have everything set for your trip. Should you book next year’s vacation now to save? Or is better to wait until the last minute?
The Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) found that how far out you book your flight has big implications for your total trip costs. You need to aim for the perfect window of opportunity to get the best price on flights.
Book too far ahead – 3.5 to 6 months in advance – and you’ll actually end up paying more for your domestic flight. That’s because most tickets haven’t been purchased yet and the airline won’t be scrambling to fill seats at cheaper prices.
International flights are a little different, with tickets purchased around 6 months in advance resulting in 10% average savings on the cost of the flight. Feel free to book around the 6-month mark if you’re flying internationally.
Book too close to your planned travel date – the day of to 2 weeks ahead – and you’ll pay more for domestic and international flights. Last-minute airfare tends to be about 10% more expensive on average.
For the most cost savings and pretty good flight availability, aim for booking your flight about a month ahead of your planned travel dates.
The ARC reports that domestic flights booked anywhere from 28 to 35 days before the trip tend to be about 10% cheaper. Sounds like a deal to us!
A key exception to the rule here is when you’re planning on traveling around major holidays.
In this case, you’re better off booking well in advance (about 2-3 months) to ensure you can get the seats you need without huge cost increases that happen closer to the holidays.
Take their advice and book about a month out (and on a Sunday, the best day to book flights) to ensure you get the best flight price.
The Best Time of Day to Book Flights
Are you better off frantically scanning available flights at midnight, leisurely scrolling through at breakfast, or hopping online in the middle of the day to score your tickets?
There’s a lot less data available when it comes to the best time of day to book flights. The general consensus is that the time of day isn’t nearly as important as the day of the week you book.
Still, some evidence from SkyScanner points to early morning hours being the best for scoring lower-priced plane tickets.
The sweet spot seems to be around 5:00AM, which SkyScanner lists as the cheapest time of day to book flights.
But Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) doesn’t really buy into the 5AM “travel hack.” Instead, they say cheap flights can be found at any time of day, calling the SkyScanner report “[not] as definitive as it sounds.”
Feel free to step into your role as the early bird and cast the airline ticket as the worm. You might be able to save a few bucks by booking around 5:00AM, especially if you do it on the best day to book flights (Sunday).
Frequently Asked Questions
We found that people have a lot of questions about the best day to book flights! We’re all about saving a little cash by booking smarter. Learn something new by reading through the most frequently asked questions and answers below.
What day of the week is best to book a flight?
Sunday is the best day of the week to book flights, unlocking cheaper rates that are 5% to 20% lower than rates found on peak booking days (Friday and Saturday).
Do flight prices go down on Tuesday?
Flight prices don't decrease significantly on Tuesday, but you might be able to save around 2% on flights booked on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. For the most cost savings, book flights on Sunday and plan to depart and return home midweek, not on the weekend.
What time of day is it cheapest to buy flights?
There's no real rhyme or reason to booking flights a specific time of day, since airlines adjust their rates on a demand-driven basis. However, you may have luck finding slightly lower rates when booking your flight around 5:00AM.
If you combine the 5AM booking time with Sunday, the best day to book flights, you could see bigger cost savings overall.
What day of the week are flights cheapest?
Sunday is generally the day of the week when flights are cheapest to book. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday tend to be cheaper days to actually depart or fly back in.
So, What Is the Best Day to Book Flights Overall?
Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday have all been volleyed around as the potential best days to book flights. We’ve looked at the data from different sources running back as far as 5 years.
What’s the actual best day to book flights overall?
It’s Sunday. It has been Sunday for the past 4 years. And until more of us catch on and start booking cheaper flights on Sundays, it could be the best day to book flights for many years to come.
Booking your flight on a Sunday saves you anywhere from 5% to 20% on your airfare, depending on the class you’re flying and whether your destination is domestic or international.
You’ll see the most Sunday savings when you’re purchasing premium tickets (you were never meant to fly coach, anyway) and flying internationally.
You can nab modest deals by booking a flight during the midweek on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. But by modest, we really mean it – you might save around 2% when you book on these middle-of-the-week days.
Whatever you do, try to avoid booking your flight on a Friday or Saturday. You’ll pay as much as 5% to 15% more when you book on these weekend days since it’s a busy booking time for airlines.
Don’t try to book your flight more than a month or two in advance unless you’re flying internationally or around a major holiday.
Even then, it’s wise to “book smarter, not sooner.” You shouldn’t book more than 6 months in advance to score the best prices on airfare.
If you can instantly shave 5% to 20% off the cost of your flight just by switching the day of the week you book, why wouldn’t you? Do yourself a favor and book your next flight on Sunday. You’ll feel like a budget travel guru.
It’s a simple way to save a little money, though it won’t make expensive trips suddenly affordable or enable you to score flights dirt cheap.
Until this flight booking “secret” goes mainstream, it’s still a pretty good travel hack to keep in mind for future trips.