Google Flights’ Research Provides Tips on How to Grab the Best Airfares
By Yehudit Garmaise
After examining five years of flight data, Google Flights revealed several strategies that could help people who like to get away to find the cheapest possible flights.
Booking early, of course, is the best way for travelers to get the best fares.
Fares for flights within the US drop to their lowest levels between three and eight weeks before departure dates, according to Google Flights, which examined historical flight data from Aug. 1, 2017, to Aug. 1, 2022.
To get the absolute best fares, travelers should look online 44 days before their trips, when according to Google Flights, prices “bottom out,” CNBC reported.
While non-stop flights cost on average approximately 20% more than connecting flights, flights with stops increase the risk of interruptions and delays, which can be not only distressing but costly.
More than one in three participants in a Facebook poll told World Nomads, a travel insurance company, that the flight delays and cancellations they experienced over the summer forced them to spend up to $250 on flights, meals, and hotels.
The number of travelers who were delayed and were forced to spend an extra $500 to $1,000 to get to their destinations was 12%.
Staying flexible about travel dates and times is another way to save money when booking flights.
“On average, flights that depart on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday have been 12% cheaper than weekend departures,” James Byers, Google Flights’ group product manager, wrote in a blog post. “If you exclude international destinations, the potential savings jump even higher to 20%.”
Travelers who do not have to fly on particular days and times can use Google Flights’ “date grid” and “price graph” functions to easily see which dates and times offer the cheapest fares.
By hitting the button, “track prices,” when travelers first research a particular flying route, Google Flights will email regular notifications of airfare changes of the desired route.
Some travelers eager to believe hacks that provide the best airfare rates believe that Tuesdays around midnight are the best time to grab the best flight bargains.
But according to Google Flights’ data, in the past five years, U.S. airfares purchased on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays have only been 1.9% cheaper on average than airfares purchased over weekends.
“If your trip is just a couple of weeks away, don’t wait for Tuesday to roll around: book your flight now, in case the price goes up,” Byers wrote.