Thrifty travelers: If you’ve marked your calendars for today, you’ve been duped and swindled.
There’s this fallacy going around the travel-sphere that Aug. 23 is a special day. In some circles, it’s known as “National Cheap Flight Day.” We regret to inform you this is simply not true. There is no one day of the year that the airfare you’ve been waiting to book will magically drop price.
“You can look back at fares from any given year and pinpoint a single day when they were cheapest, but that doesn’t mean it has any predictive power for the following year,” Andrew Hickey, senior manager of social media and public relations for Scott’s Cheap Flights, told Travel + Leisure. “Indeed, if someone in 2018 had anticipated Aug. 23 as Cheap Flights Day, they would have missed the single best deal all year, normally $5000 business class flights to Southeast Asia on sale for $550 roundtrip, that occurred on Aug. 16.”
The myth of “National Cheap Flight Day” dates back to 2015. On one specific day, it was rumored, airfare dropped from the high prices of summer. Some travelers told other people that this was the day to book your big flights. Hickey said the best way of understanding why this myth is flawed is to consider it like the stock market.
In 2017, the best day for stocks was March 1. So, if by this logic, your financial advisor told you to pour money into the stock market on March 1, you would have been aghast in 2018 when the stock market dropped 415 points. Airfare works much the same. A historic low does not indicate any future deals.
“Cheap flights can pop up anytime,” Hickey told T+L. “They’re unpredictable. Nothing from 2018’s deals could have told us that March 4, June 27, and July 10 would be great days for cheap flights this year.”
If you’re waiting on booking airfare, you’re better off going by the old, time-tested travel logic. The best deals on airfare “are most likely to pop up 1-3 months ahead of time for domestic flights and 2-8 months ahead of time for international flights,” Hickey told T+L.
You should also pay attention to airfare around weekends, holidays, and Friday afternoons. Less people are searching and there are fewer airline employees in the office to catch any mistake fares.
Travelers should also set airfare alerts for any upcoming trips and be ready to book if prices suddenly, unexpectedly fall.