Stats: For Cheapest Flights, Book More Than 30 Days Out

Airbus A330 Airplane
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Looking to find cheap flight deals next year? Booking more than 30 days out is one of the tips in a new report by Expedia and ARC.

The two companies’ fourth annual ARC Air Travel Outlook Report analyzes international and domestic flight data to identify patterns travelers can use to find airfare savings in 2018. The report also includes commentary by Egencia, Expedia’s corporate travel arm, on the business travel aspects of the findings.

Here are the highlights:

Busting the "last minute" myth:

Despite popular belief in the benefits of last-minute booking, in most parts of the world, economy fares tend to increase as departure date gets closer.

  • Best booking lead time for a bargain: Booking a flight more than 30 days ahead of departure is when travelers are most likely to find the lowest Average Ticket Prices (ATPs) for economy and premium cabin air travel.

Best day to book for a bargain:

  • For most international and domestic economy flights, cheapest fares are booked on a Sunday/most expensive are booked on a Friday.
  • For Premium fares, Saturdays and Sundays are the best bargain booking days.

Best day to start a journey?:

Expedia/ARC's tip for 2018: No matter where you're headed, start your journey on a Friday.

  • The cheapest days-of-week to start an international air journey in the economy cabin are Thursdays and Fridays.
    • For U.S. domestic economy flights, travelers paid lowest ATPs when they started their journey on a Friday.
  • The cheapest days-of-week to start an international air journey in the premium cabin are Fridays and Saturdays.

What months offer the best fares?

Expedia and ARC experts compared ATPs paid for flights during a calendar month of flight departures and found:

  • For U.S. travelers:
    • December had highest economy international ATPs/February had lowest; June had highest economy domestic ATPs/September had lowest.
    • October had highest premium international ATPs/December had lowest. June had highest premium domestic ATPs/August had lowest.
  • For UK economy international travelers, December had highest ATPs/ May had lowest.
  • In Asia, premium fares were highest mid-year (between April and September)

Traveling "on trend" - Where is the world traveling?

  • Busiest international gateways into the U.S. are New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Orlando, with global demand coming from Canada, Europe, Asia and a range of Latin America origins.
  • Cancun remains a top international destination for US travelers.
  • Travel from and within Asia Pacific is a trend: Shanghai, Taipei and Seoul in particular are fueling intra-Asia travel as well as inbound travel to key European airports/cities.
  • Europe remains a substantial contributor to global air travel, with London and Paris key entry points to the region for international travelers.   
  • The Middle East is an important hub for travel between Europe and Asia Pacific (APAC) travel.

Source: Expedia/ARC

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