Everyone is searching for the best flight deals with prices constantly fluctuating. By waiting for the right time, you will save plenty of money on your plane tickets. So, when do prices drop for flights?
Last Updated: Jan. 26, 2023
Answer: Prices drop for flights around 60 days away from departure. This is a loose rule with a window of 45-90 days out, but I usually find my best prices about two months away from traveling.
Prices also drop based on sales by the airlines and other promotions for specific destinations. These promotions have very stringent rules, so make sure to read the fine print carefully.
|120 Days||90 Days||60 Days||30 Days|
The table above shows the price changes between 120 days to 30 days away from departure. I used Google Flights to check prices leaving from Dallas, Texas.
The consensus shows that about 60 days away from flying shows the biggest price drop for flights. Again, this is a vague rule but 90-45 days away is the sweet spot with plenty of low cost flights available compared to 4 months away.
Table of Contents show me!
Prices Drop For Flights During Airline Sales
From exploring different flights, you have an idea about which airlines have the cheapest flights for your destination. Head to their website and sign up for their newsletter and follow them on social media.
All airlines showcase huge sales every year based on holidays and activities, highlighting specific destinations.
To advertise these sales, airlines usually first send out an email promo that outlines all the details. Second, they push hard on social media to all their followers, letting them know about the significant discounts.
These sales do have a few caveats to keep in mind.
These sales usually only advertise a super cheap one way trip, but the return flight can be inflated. These round trip flights have an appearance of extra savings but really cost you more.
These cheap flights are nonstop to one destination. No stopovers. If there isn’t a direct flight for the airports you need, you basically need to build your own flight which gets complicated, leaving you to pick up the pieces of your broken itinerary if there are unexpected delays or cancelations.
The flights are far out in advance and at unusual times when most people don’t want to fly.
These prices do not include baggage unless specified differently in the promo. Based on the airline, baggage costs $30-$60 one way, making those price savings obsolete.
Do Flight Prices Go Down Closer To Departure Dates?
Usually, no. The closer to the departure date, the more expensive the price. More seats tend to fill the closer to the departure date. As more tickets sell for any given flight, the demand increases creating a jump in ticket prices.
Sometimes for less popular destinations or if there is an unusually large amount of cancelations, prices may drop for flights in order to fill the seats.
I personally hate this method of buying tickets as everything is left to chance. Do yourself a favor and plan ahead about 60 days away.
How Often Do Flight Prices Drop?
Prices fluctuate daily and weekly based on demand, cancelations, sales and world circumstances. Airlines use specific algorithms that adjust prices based on these conditions and unfortunately as a consumer, we are left to the mercy of the airline gods.
There are, however, some simple travel rules that give customers an advantage to saving on their flights.
The day your departure affects prices significantly. Finding the cheapest day to fly usually falls mid week on Wednesdays, but can just as easily fall on any other day of the week based on demand.
Time of year also is a huge factor on ticket prices, as traveling during low or off peak seasons will see prices drop for flights.
How Much Do Prices Drop for Flights?
When prices drop, they fall anywhere from 10%-30% about 60 days away from departure. Airlines need to make a minimum amount of money per passenger to accommodate the time, space and fuel used for the aircraft.
Distance of the flight also plays into effect. Flights from Denver to Las Vegas are barely an hour in the air, so prices will usually be lower. When prices drop for this flight, expect a less significant discount than a flight from Denver to Paris.
When Do Plane Ticket Prices Rise?
Plane ticket prices increase due to demand. The more people that need to fly on a specific day and time, the higher the price.
Why? Because the airlines know based on years of research and current customer data what people are willing to pay for these specific flights.
What increased the demand? Usually traveling during a certain time of year for a specific destination. Peak travel times gain the largest ticket prices because more people need to travel and are willing to pay the premium.
When Is The Best Day To Book Flights?
There is NO BEST DAY to book flights. Some resources promise a significant dip in prices during mid week or on weekends, but from my personal experience and tons of research, the day you buy tickets does NOT affect the price.
So the ongoing myth that flight prices go down on Tuesday or Thursdays is false. There is no evidence that supports this theory, and I haven’t seen any price decreases based on these days either.
Do Flight Prices Drop At Night?
No. Prices do not specifically drop because of the time of day. If prices do drop at night, it’s coincidently part of the airline’s algorithm deciding to drop prices at that particular time.
From what I understand, there is no evidence of consist night time price drops, and people shouldn’t stay up to the wee hours of the morning hoping to snag a discount.
Will Flight Prices Go Down For Christmas And Other Holidays?
No. Prices usually go up around the holidays as there is a usual influx of travelers. Airlines know and expect this, so prices go up to meet the demand.
Airlines will advertise “holiday sales” on a few select days and times around a popular holiday which sell for super cheap, but the rest of the tickets sell for inflated prices.
This works similar to car dealerships advertising one really cheap car to bring people through the door, who quickly learn the advertised car sold days ago. Car dealerships will then flip the customers to other cars or deals and earn the sale.
Airlines work the same way. Since you’re browsing their website and see the sold out cheap tickets, panic buying ensues leaving you thinking, “The prices are going insane! I better buy now before tickets go even higher!” So you settle and buy.
Holidays make us all a little crazy and airlines take advantage.
Remember, airlines compete with each other and try to commit people’s travel plans before they browse other airlines and maybe find a better deal.
Exception To Holiday Travel: prices drop for flights if you depart on the exact day of a significant national holiday such as New Year, Christmas Day, and Thanksgiving Day.
These holidays revolve around family and time with loved ones, so few people travel on these exact days. If your plans are flexible and you don’t mind cutting your holiday short, search for your flights and check the discounts available.
What Month Do Prices Drop For Flights?
Prices do not drop based on the month, but more on the destination and the demand for flights during that travel season. Paris’ peak travel time is the summer, so flying from May-August will cost more than flying during January- March.
Booking travel for peak times will have a higher price than traveling during off peak times. The month you book the flight itself does not affect the price.
Sign Up For Google Flights Price Alert
If you are hunting for the best flight deals, sign up for Google Flights price alerts.
Sign in to Google, plug in your cities for departure and arrival with the dates you are exploring and click the “Track Prices” button in the upper left hand part of the charts.
You will automatically be sent information when prices increase or decrease for your flights. Many travel sites have this feature, but I trust Google Flights the most since they show you prices directly from the airline so you can book directly with them.
Beware Of The Layover
Just because prices drop for flights on the days you want to travel, doesn’t mean it’s the best option. Often airlines, to show the best prices, will plan a mind-numbingly long layover, leaving you stranded at an airport for six plus hours and sometimes overnight.
The lowest price doesn’t always equal the best deal…if that makes sense.
Take a little extra time to look through the different days. Although one day doesn’t show the best price that week, the flight pattern is more convenient with a quick layover or even a nonstop flight to your destination. The extra money is worth the extra time.
If you were wondering when do prices drop for flights, you have the answer, plus extra information that will help you search for the best airline ticket prices. Yes, it’s an arduous process, but implementing these details pay off huge when you get to buy extra food on your trip.
This is plenty of information, but always keep in mind that the best travel deal is the one that fits your budget. Don’t let analysis paralysis keep you from your travels.
Do yourself a favor: don’t overthink the flights and buy the tickets.