For the second year in a row, CheapAir.com has found that
the best time, on average, to purchase a plane ticket for domestic U.S. flights
is 54 days in advance.
To assemble its 2017 Airfare Study, CheapAir crunched 921
million airfares. On average, the website found, the price for a given trip
changed 71 times, and with each change the lowest prices rose or fell by $33.
"So, clearly, it matters a huge deal when you choose to pull
the trigger on your flight purchase," CheapAir said in a summary of the results.
Though 54 days in advance works out to be, on average, the
cheapest time to book airfare, the actual cheapest time varies widely on a
ticket-for-ticket basis, CheapAir said. As such, the company designated what it
calls its "prime booking window," which ranges from 105 days to 21 days in
advance of a flight.
"This zone is where the cheap airfare hunter wants to
concentrate his or her best bargain-shopping efforts," CheapAir said. "Keep in
mind that fares will still fluctuate within this rather large window, but in
general, the sweet spot is in this zone – where the best fare tends to pop up
and fares tend to be within 5% of their lowest."