According to the Airlines Reporting Corporation, the best time to book holiday airfare (if you’re looking for a deal) is eight to ten weeks before your departure date. That’s mid-to-late September for Thanksgiving, mid-to-late October for Christmas and New Years. Additionally, ARC reports that the least expensive tickets are purchased on Sunday as opposed to Tuesday, which is common belief.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a guaranteed formula. Here are a few other ways to snag a good deal:
Be persistent. Travelers can hold seats for 24 hours without purchasing them. That means that flights that once appeared full will inevitably open up.
Shop around. Check individual airlines’ websites in addition to booking agent’s websites (i.e. Priceline, Orbitz) to get an idea of average prices for your flight. Knowing what the going rate is will help you recognize a deal.
Don’t wait. Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate. The chances of getting a better deal at the last minute are slim to none.