The Worst Days to Fly in 2016



Conventional wisdom holds that to save on air fare, it’s best to plan at least 57 days in advance, compare various price points, and book on Tuesday afternoons.

That said, price depends greatly on which days you’re planning to fly. Rick Seaney, chief executive of Farecompare.com, an airfare comparison tool, crunched the company’s data to determine which days are going to be the most expensive for U.S. travelers in 2016. 

It’s worth noting that there is never one airline with the cheapest fare across the board, so you should take other factors into account. It may be worth keeping up with the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, though–which regularly trackers the “on-time” performance of individual airlines, along with average air fares. 

Other analysts suggest to avoid booking flights when there are likely to be disruptions due to weather or peak tourism. “The worst days to fly are those that have a high probability of disruptions,” said Grant Martin, a business travel editor with Skift.com “Those days usually correlate with high traffic and bad weather.” 

Martin also notes that you should book your flight directly through the air carrier, as opposed to through an aggregation site. “If you experience flight disruptions, this will make it far easier to change your itinerary,” he says. 

Below are the worst days to travel, both domestically and for trans-Atlantic trips:

Domestic flights

March 17: As the ice melts, airfare prices are slated to spike on St. Patrick’s Day, when  travelers are expected to jet off for Spring Break. 

May 17: Generally thought of as the beginning of summer, the mid-way marker between May and June is when air fare will surge. 

June 10: Seaney notes that airlines are cunning: They hike according to when the majority of U.S. travelers are planning to take summer vacation. This year, consider booking just one day ahead of time, on June 9th, if you can get away.

July 31: The last day in July is also going to be the last day of sky-high ticket prices, says Seaney. If you wait to fly on August 1st, you’ll reap the (cheaper) rewards of the late-summer travel season.

August 22: Starting on the 23rd, airlines will start to lower their prices, as the summer travel season draws to a close. Don’t miss out on savings by making the mistake of booking just one day too soon.

November 23 and November 27: The Wednesday and Sunday that bookend Thanksgiving are notoriously the most expensive days to fly. If at all possible, consider nabbing a Tuesday/Saturday flight.

International flights:

March 17: St. Patrick’s day is just as expensive for trans-Atlantic travelers, the data showed.

May 17: The start of the summer season includes an additional price hike for European-bound flights.

August 22: Just like with domestic flights, the 22nd will be the last day of those pricey summer tickets. Book your next to trip to Paris or London on the 23rd instead.



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