Aug 08

Tip For Best Purchase Time of Airline Tickets

Best Time to Buy Airline TicketWhat's the absolute best time to purchase a ticket directly from the airlines? Turns out it's Wednesday from midnight to 1a.m. in the time zone of the airline's "home base." (For instance, Delta is headquartered in Utah Atlanta and United currently calls Chicago home.)

Why? That's when the computer systems of most airlines get rid of the reserved but unbooked lower fare reservations. Most of us at one time or another have booked a reservation, then let it go without purchase. Snap-up these discounted fares right after this happens and you're likely to get a significant discount.

Source: AARP

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Comments

  • has anyone ever tried this time to see if it is true?

    May 24
  • Please keep in mind that often websites will install cookies in your computer to track the trip you are looking into. Then, if you go back to check the price it will have jumped significantly. I have found this to be true on sites such as priceline, travelocity, etc. Remember to clear your cookies and open a new webpage before searching again. It is not paranoia.

    Mar 19
  • "is it true that the computer can track your attempts so that whatever route and date you've checked will be higher the next time you check it? or is that total paranoia?"

    NOT paranoia - it's entirely feasible, and it's done by (or used to be done) by major retail sites. It's not "the computer" tracking you or anything - it's a website tracking your activity on that site using browser 'cookies'. Wiping your cookies (preferably only for that site) and logging back in is a good experiment to see if a site is doing this to you. Search the web for information about web browsing, cookies, and security to get details and how-tos.

    Mar 02
  • Doesn't anyone notice there are no answers to most of the posts here? (That's a rhetorical question)

    Feb 24
  • How soon before a trip to Aruba in June should we purchase our airline tickets? We've been watching the fares go up from $400+ to over $1,000 per person. Someone thought it would be better to wait until March. Any thoughts on this?

    Feb 17
  • I've been looking for a flight to Los Angeles through Burbank Airport from SLC, yesterday it was at $199 and now Wed Feb 4 its listed at $169!

    Feb 04
  • I tried this and it definitely works. Thanks for the advice! Yesterday the ticket from SLC to Honolulu, HI (one way) was $283, I decided to wait because of this posting and the price went down to $250. In these times, every dollar counts. Thanks again!

    Feb 04
  • didn'r work for me since price still same after wed 12:30pm

    Dec 11
  • will gonna try to buy one this wed and see if it really works, i live in EST?

    Dec 09
  • We want to go to Okinawa Japan to visit our son. He is US Marine that is stationed there. Question-we want to be there the first week in March. Should we book the flight now or with the economy the way it is, do you think we should wait awhile and maybe the ticket price will be better???????

    Dec 01
  • i need to travel from atlanta to charleston on the 11th of Dec, i checked prices midweek and they were $69 and now its $130. Should i buy now or wait and risk it and wait till Wednesday??????????

    Nov 23
  • well I just got a little surpise .. I have been hunting for one way tickets from HOU to JFK or LGA and they were at $264.00 each for 01/09 that was yesterday all day and today.. i just went and checked again and guess what? price just jumped to $300.00 I'm getting nervous here.. should I buy now or pay more later? or hopefully ride the wave and hope it will come down? :( this is very dissapointing now :(

    Nov 19
  • It seems alot of people here not all, are quite literally looking for the best deal in their own time zone and I believe the author of this said to use the airlines base location as the time zone for the " Wednesday morning Midnight to 1:00 am slot" this could differ from your local time any where from 0 to several hours.

    Am I wrong about this?

    I personally have noticed if you travel midweek you'll get a better fare.

    Nov 18
  • I haven't tried this, but it is wends., so I'll set my alarm clock tonight and check. The last time I looked, the 2 tickets came to $456. I hope it'll be lower!

    Nov 05
  • how many months in advance should you purchase airline tickets for a trip from DCA to Aruba.

    Oct 29
  • I have found great prices at:foxhallworldwidetravel...

    Oct 10
  • Would anyone know what the best time to book a flight for airfrance from New York?

    Oct 04
  • Would anyone know what the best time to book a flight for airfrance from New York?

    Oct 04
  • Would anyone know what the best time to book a flight for airfrance from New York?

    Oct 04
  • try to purchase the tickets 2-3 weeks ahead of time. i found they are cheapest then but i will be trying to the wednesday 12midnight-1am hype. US Airways headquarter is in Tempe, Arizonia; Frontier Airlines headquarters is in Denver, Colardo. If you need to find where more headquarters are just goold the airline's headquarters location.

    Sep 28
  • Should have purchased tickets from RDU to MSY last week for Nov 25-30. I went on for last three days and price went from 280 to 468. Does anyone think they will go down again.

    Sep 21
  • I don't know about the whole "Wednesday" myth. I've been watching fares to Bali and yesterday (Wednesday) was $1,000 RT more than today.

    Aug 28
  • Great article! I will try to check with www.expressairlinetick.... Thank you.

    Aug 18
  • total paranoia

    Aug 13
  • is it true that the computer can track your attempts so that whatever route and date you've checked will be higher the next time you check it? or is that total paranoia?

    Aug 04
  • When is the best time to book a flight from either Nashville, TN or Memphis, TN to Denver, CO for the week(s) of December 19 or 20 to December 28,29,30th,or 31st 2008? It doesnt matter which days as long as I get there the 20th and leave before New Years. ( I can possibly leave New Years Day) But try not to. Thanks!

    Jul 29
  • Great info:
    "Wednesday from midnight to 1a.m. in the time zone of the airline's "home base."
    I never discover this before. I normally purchase from www.expressairlinetick.../ They offer quite cheap airline tickets. I will try next time for your advice time

    Jul 17
  • I need clarification....today is Tuesday, July 15th. Is the best time to call at midnight TOMORROW night, between midnight, Wednesday and 1 a.m. Thursday???

    Jul 15
  • Here is a site i found on google with more travel tips to save money


    www.tinyurl.com/favori...

    Jul 13
  • It does work .... I am a poor student so I have always played around with getting tickets ..... and Tuesday night into Wed morning has always always worked for me.

    Jul 06
  • It doesn't work at all.

    Don't waste your time.

    The good strategy is to check everyday.

    Jun 29
  • what is the best time to book an air ticket for a trip to India in December?

    Jun 24
  • what is the home base for ALASKA-AIR, SOUTHWEST, and US AIRWAYS?

    Jun 24
  • Lufthansa home base in USA please.....

    Jun 17
  • Now that fuel is so expensive, when is the best time to buy a plane ticket?

    What day of the week?
    What time?
    How many weeks in advance (or days)?

    And which carrier usually has the cheapest prices?

    Oh, and I'm flying from Atlanta to New York.

    Jun 14
  • Yes, I agree Wed after midnight is much cheaper then normal from my past experiences. But with the increase jet fuel cost, I have not found my cheaper prices yet and it is Wed after midnight.

    Jun 12
  • dddddddddddddddddddddd...

    May 31
  • May 31
  • i wanna know if i wanna a flight from august 5 to september 8 when should i buy it noting that i depart from jfk

    May 20
  • For tips on domestic US flights and international, read the article from msnbc.msn.com below

    www.msnbc.msn.com/id/1.../

    May 06
  • Just tried this tip, and remarkably, it didn't seem to make the slightest difference. The ticket price at 12:30 Wednesday morning was the same as monday afternoon. However, this may be due to the fact that the flights i'm looking at are in June '08. How far in advance should you book a flight for the best possible price? Am I looking too far in advance?

    Apr 09
  • I need to buy two tickets for Feb 6, 09 roundtrip... is is worth getting them now our wait till closer? I want to fly nonstop...
    Love the site:-)I will also ck tonight to see if fares changed...

    Apr 08
  • Does this really work?

    Apr 08
  • kayak.com

    Apr 07
  • Thanks for the tip, will try this and let everyone know how it goes.

    Apr 02
  • farecast.com

    Apr 02
  • dallas

    Mar 24
  • Where is AA headquarters?

    Mar 19
  • What a load of crap. I was about to purchase a ticket for a business flight four weeks out from the west coast to LHR via AMS. The price (before taxes and fees) was $610, after midnight on Wednesday it jumped to over $1300. Obviously I didn't book it...how could it possibly go higher than that? Moving the trip out or in days or weeks made no difference at all. I'll wait...if it never comes down, well...the company is paying for it.

    I think Wednesday may be a day when airlines commonly play with their rates, but it may go up or down and there's no telling if you're going to get a better rate or get screwed.

    Mar 19
  • Flying to Ft. Lauderdale from Minneapolis on November 15th, 2008, Returning November 23rd, 2008. Eight months away I know but when/how should I go about going after the cheap seaats. Is it too early? Will prices go up as we approach Thanksgiving? Spurging on a cruise and need to fly cheap!

    Greg

    Mar 16
  • I tried to purchase a ticket at 9 p.m. on Friday. When I returned to the computer later at 12:30 a.m., the tickets had gone from $350 to $450. The ticket's I'm purchasing are for Sept, almost 6 mos away. Should I expect to get a better price or at least the original $350 price again?

    Mar 15
  • I am in the same boat as everyone else on this site, so I need some help. I'm trying to get a flight from PHL to ATL for Apr 4-7. Last week my tickets for the roundtrip flight were $199 - including taxes & fees. Which was Wednesday & Thursday night. I went to purchase them Friday early morning and the ticket price is now $367. So...in that being said, by today being Wednesday should I wait until 12am - 1am going into Thursday? I use farecast.com and they advised me to wait. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

    Mar 12
  • I'm going to check this Wednesday and see if it helps any. I'm not flying until May 8th but I thought I might as well go ahead and start lookiing. The hardest part is deciding whether they've bottomed out or are going to keep going up.

    Mar 10
  • Silly question maybe, but when you Wednesday from midnight to 1:00 am ...but you mean starting Tues. night at 12:00 which is actually Wednesday.

    Mar 05
  • Last thursday I found a 218 round trip cleveland to austin; on Friday it was up to 278. So--i should expect it to be back down at 12:30 a.m. wednesday?

    Feb 25
  • Okay so I am looking to travel to London from the US in April and Im planning on waiting until next Wednesday to book my ticket but towards the end of all these comments I got a little confused- do I buy my ticket Tuesday at midnight to 1am on Wednesday or Wednesday at midnight to Thursday 1am? This site was a great deal of help and an answer to many of my questions ~Thanks~

    Feb 15
  • Sorry, this: www.upgradetravelbette.../

    Feb 13
  • Maybe we should look at THIS link?

    www.google.com/url?sa=...

    Feb 13
  • we need a ticket to willkes-bare, pa and the cost

    Dec 30
  • Can anyone help me out with some insight? Is there any advantage on buying a ticket to fly more than 3 weeks in advance (on A Wednesday)?? Thanks~~~

    Dec 19
  • I need to buy a ticket to fly on 1/26/08. Should I buy the eticket now or wait to get the best deal?

    Dec 19
  • Have to give it a try, it never hurts to try.

    Nov 24
  • what is the best time to book us airways?

    Nov 20
  • I believe it states Wednesday from midnight to 1 am, not pm, if you read it carefully.

    Nov 16
  • Its not Wednesday night to wait dummies. READ IT CAREFULLY. Wednesday from 12am to 1pm. So WED morning. Not Wed night! If you waited till thursday its too late

    Nov 05
  • I was recently looking for tickets around the holidays, and I wanted to spend the holidays home, but my husband has Dec. 22- Jan 2nd off from his job, and I found CHEAP CHEAP airfare flying out Dec 25 (yes christmas day, but I booked my tickets in the evening, christmas is over by the afternoon anyway!) and flying back on new years day, Jan 1st. Apparently no one really wants to fly ON a holiday, so they were DIRT cheap!!!

    Oct 24
  • I am looking a airline ticket from JFK or EWR to LAS. From December 12 afternoon to December 16, 2007 Noon, When is the best time to purchase.

    Oct 24
  • I am looking a airline ticket from JFK or EWR to LAS. From December 12 afternoon to December 16, 2007 Noon, When is the best time to purchase.

    Oct 24
  • I am looking a airline ticket from JFK or EWR to LAS. From December 12 afternoon to December 16, 2007 Noon, When is the best time to purchase.

    Oct 24
  • Does anyone know what airline has the best rates for flights to the UK?

    Oct 09
  • I just wanted to say that I tested this theory and found a difference of $275 on my ticket!

    Sep 20
  • Did you mean to say you got the tickets early THURSDAY am?

    Aug 21
  • This does not seem to apply to Australian Airlines. they must be on a different system

    Aug 08
  • Nice tip, I didn't know about this until reading your post.

    Jul 23
  • For the people with Holiday questions, I can say that if I'm going to spend time with relatives on Christmas, I get the absolute best price by flying on Christmas Day, and returning on New Years Day...can't remember how I used to do Thanksgiving...

    Jun 14
  • Our Teacher said that:The colors comes from our brain, It not the color really,and our eyes just can know three colors,thay are bule green and red,but I wonder that where is yellew comes from? Whichever they mix can not to be yellew right?

    May 23
  • Thanks for very interesting article. btw. I really enjoyed reading all of your posts. It’s interesting to read ideas, and observations from someone else’s point of view… makes you think more. So please keep up the great work. Greetings

    May 16
  • I need to purchase a ticket to the UK, when is the best time for purchasing international flights? I haven't found much by searching the internet.

    May 06
  • so do you suggest I buy my ticket today for atrip I am taking 5/29/2007

    Apr 20
  • Will it make any difference trying to buy them during those times if you need flights for the holidays? I am looking at flying around Thanksgiving and the prices seem to be getting higher as time goes on. Wondering if it is worth to wait until the hours to see.... or just purchase them now..

    Apr 15
  • I believe this may be true, I looked to book a ticket from CA to MD yesterday which was Wed and the roundtrip price was $311, I went back online to book the same flight today and the price has risen to $447 for the same exact flight which I would be taking over a month from now....Don't know if this has anything to do with Wednesday but it seems it might.

    Apr 05
  • This "myth" is not a myth. I had been searching for plane tickets for a week and notice a significant increase in the price from a Saturday to a Wednesday. On Wednesday, my tickets for three people would have cost just under $1400. I decided to wait until after midnight to see if this tip was correct. Early Tuesday morning, I purchased my three tickets for $832. I am a believer. For fun, I then tracked the same tickets over the next week and saw the price go up significantly and drop dramtically again after midnight the following Wednesday.

    Apr 02
  • This system has 12 combinations of airfare which cover over 400 airline sites.
    I just trying to say that half of these are not paying anything now.
    But it would be good if they can make a little, and keep everything the same
    down the road before the beta goes live.

    Mar 27
  • Thanks for the correction. It turns out that Salt Lake City is only a "hub" for Delta and Atlanta is where they are headquartered.

    Hates_ - This info was based on U.S. airlines, so I am unsure if this would work for airlines in other countries.

    Mar 26
  • love you man

    Mar 02
  • nice

    Mar 02
  • hello

    Mar 02
  • I just waited until Wednesday at midnight to book a flight - Not only did the price not go down, it went up $70.00 for the round trip - Ouch! Now I don't know whether to wait hoping the tickets will go back down or book now before they go up even higher.

    Mar 01
  • How far before your trip did you book your airline flights when you got the lower deal after midnight on Wednesday?

    Jan 13
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    Dec 12
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    Nov 22
  • My expereince was backward. I looked at ticket prices on Wed late night and saw tickets for my trip all for around $180. Decided to think it over and buy them the next day. I flipped out when i saw all the prices had more then doubled. I did some googling to try to understand what was going on, and i found out about the Wednesday night release of new pricing structures. It's not the tickets necessarily that are released, it's the prices for outstanding tix. It has to do with coordinating sales with the wholesale market, as I understand.

    Nov 13
  • sorry link was bad. www.tictrip.com/airfares

    This system has 12 combinations of airfare which cover over 400 airline sites.
    I just trying to say that half of these are not paying anything now.
    But it would be good if they can make a little, and keep everything the same
    down the road before the beta goes live.

    Oct 13
  • We been working for 2 years on a new airfare system that covers everything without profit in mind.
    Still in beta, but feel free to check it out. We have a comment form there, so it would be good
    to possitive feedback, suggestions before it goes live in a month.

    wwwtictrip.com/airfares

    Many if these big companies will not pay much if you do not put their special airfares first.
    This system is made to solve the entire airfare problem. It will not make them much until they
    can get their own airline ticket engines in there. But for now nothing is marked up, so please
    check it out, and tell me what you think.

    Oct 13
  • Im having the same issue as Erin...do Holidays make a difference?

    Oct 09
  • Will it make any difference trying to buy them during those times if you need flights for the holidays? I am looking at flying around Thanksgiving and the prices seem to be getting higher as time goes on. Wondering if it is worth to wait until the hours to see.... or just purchase them now..

    Sep 29
  • This "myth" is not a myth. I had been searching for plane tickets for a week and notice a significant increase in the price from a Saturday to a Wednesday. On Wednesday, my tickets for three people would have cost just under $1400. I decided to wait until after midnight to see if this tip was correct. Early Tuesday morning, I purchased my three tickets for $832. I am a believer. For fun, I then tracked the same tickets over the next week and saw the price go up significantly and drop dramtically again after midnight the following Wednesday.

    Sep 20
  • Sorry to burst the bubble on this, but the Wednesday @ midnight low-fare myth is just that: a myth. Debunked in detail here:
    upgradetravel.blogspot....html

    Aug 10
  • My experience comes from working with databases for airlines. Based on what i have seen, the change in prices is not directly related to the automatic release of unbooked reservations (that happens on a daily basis set at predefined intervals by individual carriers).

    Each Wednesday, airlines release thier next set of scheduled flights along with any blocks of seats (seats set aside for their thrid party resellers that were unsold).

    The price that we as consumers pay are directly related to supply and demand (among other factors which for simplicity sake we will leave out for now). Prices for seats are set on a tier structure so as the plane gets filled up the prices increase. By booking on Wednesday mornings when the supply arrives on the market, you are able to catch the price at a lower tier thus paying less.

    Aug 09
  • How is this different then when the airlines automatically remove your unbooked reservation after 24 or 48 hours?

    Most airlines will only hold the tickets for you for a short time, automatically releasing them afterwards.

    What's different about this "Wednesday flush"?

    Aug 09
  • I think this has less to do with computer systems, and more to do with business pratices. This has gotten press previously in the Wall Street Journal and the reason given was that the major airlines operate as a cartel, and in general they only make price adjustments on Wednesdays, and then fairly quickly pull back if the others don't match.

    Aug 09
  • Thanks for the tip ;)

    Aug 09
  • Hmm. I haven't really noticed prices being significantly higher after 1am...unless of course you wait hours and hours until 8 or 9. I usually buy airline tickets between 3am (when things at my "day" job get quiet) and 6am (when they start to get busy again), although this isn't to save money so much as because that's overwhelmingly the most convenient time.

    Aug 09
  • Found this handy website mentioned in Time magazine:

    www.farecast.com

    The site is in beta, so the only departure cities are Boston and Seattle for now. Hope to see this become really helpful in the future

    Aug 09
  • This item makes sense only to a person with rudimentary understanding of how computer systems work. I can see Wednesday in general being better due to patterns in business vs. leasure travel. I can see that SOME TIME AFTER MIDNIGHT (every night) booked seats are released. But to claim that all all airlines decided to keep the booked seats until Wednesday and then release them first thing after midnight makes no sense. Release of booked items is a daily process, not weekly. Plus, aren't booked items held for 24/48 or however many HOURS and not until next Wednesday. Sorry if you booked something late Tuesday night, you are SOL :)

    Aug 08
  • Yeah baby...cheap airline tickets

    Aug 08
  • Wednesday is the best day to look for ticket bargains... Furthermore my experience shows that the best Wednesday bargains are for flights three weeks in advance. This Wednesday for example is August 9th: the best prices will be for those flights from August 30th to September 5th, next Wednesday the "sweet spot" falls from September 6th to 12th, and so on...

    Aug 08
  • I will try tomorrow to book at midnight and I will let you know if prices are better.

    Aug 08
  • is that really true, if so has anybody noticed any big difference in the prices ?

    Aug 08
  • Thanks for the correction. It turns out that Salt Lake City is only a "hub" for Delta and Atlanta is where they are headquartered.

    Hates_ - This info was based on U.S. airlines, so I am unsure if this would work for airlines in other countries.

    Aug 08
  • Does this only apply to US airlines?

    Aug 08
  • Have to agree with Bob, Delta is headquartered in Atlanta - my wife is retired from Delta. But, Utah is nice.

    Aug 08
  • Will give it a try. Delta, btw, calls Atlanta home although Utah would be a nice alternative.

    Aug 08