As usual, 2020 will include a number of Deal Zones or cheap times to fly. Knowing when they occur is how you save money. I poured over a ton of airfare data (nearly 300 million ticket prices) and crunched it down to average daily fares, and finally, the cheapest of those daily fares. And with that, here’s where you find the deals.
The Winter Deal Zone
Generally speaking, the winter deal zone is the cheapest time to fly all year. The actual dates may vary a day or two depending on where you live.
Deal zone dates: U.S. and Canada flights: Jan. 7 through Feb. 29.Europe flights: Jan. 22 to March 25.
Cheapest single date to fly: U.S. and Canada flights - Jan. 21. If you can include it in an itinerary, do so.
No-fly dates: U.S. and Europe: Avoid the first week in January; prices remain high as holiday travelers return home.
U.S. flights: Avoid travel from Feb. 14 to Feb. 17. It’s more expensive during this period because it includes Valentine’s Day and President’s Day, always expensive times to fly.
Cheap days of the week: U.S. flights: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and often Thursdays are best-value days.
Europe flights: Weekdays, as opposed to weekends.
The Spring Deal Zone
Deals are still available, they’re just not as cheap as in winter. If you can, fly before the spring price hikes.
Early spring fare hike: March 1 (give or take a day).
Days to avoid flying: Fridays and Sundays are getting significantly more expensive.
Europe flights: First spring fare hike occurs about March 26, followed by another on May 14.
The No Deal Zone of Summer
This is when airfares are traditionally most expensive thanks to heavy demand for travel in June, July and August. But there are still ways to find deals.
First summer hike: Prices rise June 2 for flights to Europe, June 4 for U.S. and Canada flights.
Most expensive dates to fly: For U.S. flights, June 22 to Aug. 24; for Europe, June 2 to July 14.
Fall Deal Zone
Another great time to fly.
Big price drops: U.S. fares drop Aug. 25, and again in September and beyond.
Europe price drops: Tickets drop July 15 and again on Aug. 11 and Sept. 11.
Finding the Deals
Use this fare calendar as a guide, but you can also search for the cheapest deals using a tool that zeroes in on the cheapest dates within a month or season (my site has this search tool but there are others, too). Always compare fares from as wide a variety of airlines, too; good advice for 2020, good advice any year.
Rick Seaney is the CEO for FareCompare. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.