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The Best Day of the Week To Book a Flight [2024 Data Study]

Alex Miller's image
Alex Miller
Alex Miller's image

Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

295 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 34U.S. States Visited: 29

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

35 Published Articles 3236 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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When it comes to air travel, timing is everything. From the moment you decide to embark on your journey to the decision on departure times to the second you secure your ticket, timing plays a pivotal role in shaping your travel experience. We’d like to take some time today to focus on the latter.

If you’re a regular traveler, chances are you’ve heard the myth that the day you choose to book your flight can play a crucial role in how much the ticket costs, even if the flight isn’t set to depart for a month. It sounds a little odd, but it turns out that it might not be such a tall tale.

We collected airfare costs from Google Flights for 10 of the busiest domestic flight routes over 4 weeks to determine if the day you book a flight impacts how much it will cost. We analyzed over 44,000 flights and got insight into day-of-week costs for 8 popular U.S. airlines. If you want to save a few bucks the next time you book a flight, buckle up because we have some data to share.

What Does a Flight Cost Every Day of the Week?

Across every flight we analyzed, the average cost of a one-way economy class plane ticket was $225.21. But that price can swing depending on the day of the week you choose to actually book the flight. Let’s look at the data day by day.

Waiting until the end of the week to finally press the purchase button will cost you more than if you pulled the trigger earlier in the week.

Saturday emerged as the most expensive day of the week to book a flight, with an average ticket cost of $241.61, followed by Friday, which experienced the second-most expensive cost at $238.47. Waiting until the end-of-week rush to finalize flight plans comes at a premium.

This surge in pricing doesn’t seem to affect every day of the weekend, as the average cost of a flight on Sunday is $224.66, much closer to the overall average.

As we move towards midweek, prices continue to level out a bit. Booking a flight on Wednesday will cost an average of $222.76, while a Thursday booking averages $222.21. Both are just a few dollars short of the overall average. 

For travelers looking to score the best possible deal, booking a flight early in the week would be your best bet. Mondays and Tuesdays experience the lowest prices of any day in our study. On Mondays, you can expect to pay an average of $213.44; on Tuesdays, the cheapest day to book a flight, that number drops just slightly to $213.31.

Looks like your friend who has sworn for years that the day you book a flight does have an impact on cost wasn’t so loony after all. Next, we’ll uncover more secrets to smarter booking decisions by exploring the cheapest and most expensive days to book flights with major U.S. airlines.

The Best Day of the Week To Book a Flight by Airline

An illustrated line chart showing the cost of booking a flight every day of the week using major U.S. airlines
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

Whether you’re loyal to 1 airline or are just on the hunt for the best possible deal, our airline flight cost analysis can inform your trip planning so you have some extra cash to spend when you arrive at your destination.

American Airlines Aviators:

With an average flight cost of $279 across American Airlines flights in our study, the airline presents a pretty consistent cost pattern. Thursday emerges as the most expensive day to book, with tickets averaging $285.60. Putting off your purchase by just 24 hours could save you about $14 as the Friday average dips to $271.85, the second-cheapest day for American Airlines flights.

Delta Air Lines Dynamos:

In an interesting contrast to American, Delta Air Lines experiences a reverse relationship between Thursday and Friday bookings. Opting to purchase on a Thursday could yield significant savings, with an average cost of $181.05 compared to the $216.67 you could expect to pay on a Friday.

JetBlue Jetsetters and Spirit Stans:

If you plan to book with JetBlue Airways or Spirit Airlines, you’ll want to do it as early in the week as possible as Monday and Tuesday are when their tickets are cheapest, on average. If you wait until the weekend, you can expect to foot the bill for some surge pricing. On JetBlue flights, the average price from Monday to Friday jumps $50(!). On Spirit, the increase is slightly less substantial, but booking on a Saturday instead of a Monday would cost you around $30 extra.

Users of United Airlines:

Not all airlines follow the same exact trend. For United Airlines, the fluctuations are a bit different. While United’s prices peak on Thursday ($299.47) and Friday ($298.36) like most other airlines, an interesting anomaly arises with Tuesday bookings, which also exhibit higher-than-average costs of $296.64. Conversely, Sunday ($281.66), Monday ($283.63), and Wednesday ($284.22) are the most cost-effective days when booking a flight with United.

Which Airlines Experience the Most Consistent Pricing?

American Airlines boasts the most consistent pricing in our study across every day of the week. The range between its most expensive (Monday) and least expensive (Sunday) booking day is just $14.67. United Airlines follows close behind with a range of $17.81.

Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines also have fairly tight ranges, with the gap between their cheapest and most expensive days of the week being just shy of $30. Users of Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines can expect slightly higher price discrepancies. Their price ranges come in at $35.76 and $36.28, respectively.

Two airlines that stand out above the rest regarding pricing surges depending on the day of the week. JetBlue Airways flights experience a range of nearly $60 between its most and least affordable days, while Hawaiian Airlines blows the rest of the airlines out of the water with a staggering range of $100.38. 

One thing to note is that our Hawaiian Airlines data only reflects flights from Honolulu to Maui. So, if you find yourself on that flight path, make sure to book your flight on a Monday or Tuesday!

Methodology

To determine the most expensive days of the week to book a flight, we pulled Google Flights airfare cost data for 10 of the busiest U.S. domestic flight routes from OAG every day for 4 weeks. Costs in the study are based on one-way economy flight options for each flight route. Using this method, our analysis takes into account over 44,000 flights.

All flight costs reflect booking a flight 3 to 4 weeks in advance on the same day of the week to remove any time-based bias from the data. For example, the flight data collected for the week of March 25th was for flights set to depart on May 19th. All data collected followed that same pattern.

To calculate the average cost of a plane ticket by day of the week, we averaged all flight costs for that day. We then did this for the 8 airlines listed and the 10 flight paths we used as the basis for the study.

Southwest Airlines was excluded from the study because their flight data is not published on Google Flights. 

Final Thoughts

While the flight prices we’ve explored change day by day, one thing remains constant: the importance of informed decision-making in travel booking. As prices continue to rise, savvy travelers will be looking to save where they can. We hope our dissection of price variations helps you identify the optimal booking window for whichever airline you choose to use. May your bookings be seamless and your experiences unforgettable. Fly smarter with Upgraded Points.

Alex Miller's image

About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

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