Is There Really a Magic Day to Get the Best Deals on Airfare?

You may be holding on to an old, fictional notion.

If you ask people who think they're savvy travelers about the best day to buy airplane tickets, they might tell you that the answer is pretty simple.

Often, folks say it's Tuesday. In fact, deal websites and travel media have long held that this day of the week is the best to buy airfare because it's when the fare sales come out. Another popular opinion about the best day of the week to buy airplane tickets is Wednesday, because that's when the prices are best. 

Further complicating matters, just yesterday Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation, which processes ticket transactions for airlines and travel agencies, announced that weekends are the best time to buy. "The best deals on airplane tickets can be found if the tickets are purchased on weekends, Sunday in particular, more than 21 days in advance," according to the just-released report, which also echoed its own similar findings from last year.

So is there actually a magical best day of the week to buy tickets, or not?

According to a report in the The New York Times earlier this year, the answer these days may essentially be no — despite so many experts and data nominally suggesting to the contrary. 

"I just want to drive a stake through the heart of that myth,” George Hobica, the founder of the deal alert site Airfarewatchdog.com, told The Times. He's been following the cost of popular air travel routes every day for more than two decades.

These days, there are simply too many variables for there to be a single best day to buy, according to the report. For instance, prices depend on the specifics of the route, the level of competition on that route, holidays and events during the timeframe, and day of the week for travel. Airlines are just constantly making changes to their prices based on all of this data and more.

So it really comes down to simply using your judgement: Try the experts' tips and suggestions: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or weekends.

But if it's the best fare you're after these days, get to setting your own alerts on flight search engines like Kayak.com, which shows at a glance airfares for various days of the week or month. Check daily. And don't rely on any notion of magical formulas, which some pros now think are fictional anyway.

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