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The cheapest days to fly in 2019

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 1/1/2019 Rick Seaney
Every year at this time, I like to help travelers plan upcoming trips by publishing a list of the cheapest days to fly in the new year.

A brief note on methodology: This 2019 list is the result of analyzing a vast amount of airfare data, almost 300 million unique flight combinations for every origin and destination around the world. These daily prices were then reduced to average “cheapest fares” for the world and various regions.

Again, these are daily averages, so there may be some slight variation (perhaps a day or two) for a particular route’s very cheapest date. A good way to find your best deal is by comparing prices on a multi-airline comparison site for your desired travel dates, plus a few dates on either side of this target.

These are – on average – the cheapest days (or day) to fly, overall.

• U.S. flights: Jan. 22 to 30

• Trans-Atlantic flights: Jan. 30

• Worldwide flights: Jan. 29

Cheap days by season: U.S. flights

You’ll notice I don’t mention travel dates after summer. I only analyzed airfare data through August because most airlines do not actively manage ticket prices much beyond nine months in advance. If planning a domestic flight for September or beyond, shop within a window beginning about 14 to 21 days through 30 to 45 days before departure (and from about two to five months for international travel). Here are the average cheap days by season for U.S. flights:

• Winter: Prices are cheap starting Jan. 3 and continue through much of February with especially good deals in the last two weeks of the month.

• Spring: Weekend fares start to rise in March, as much as 35 percent over weekdays, but weekends will be even higher in April. In late May, watch for higher prices on Thursdays and Fridays as well.

• Early summer: Fares in the first couple of weeks of June remain relative bargains compared to peak summer season pricing, but this is followed by two significant price hikes: June 13 is the first, followed by another on June 23, which marks the start of peak season. Late June fares will run about 20 to 25 percent higher than the start of the month.

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Cheap days by season: Europe flights

• Winter: January to March is a cheap time to fly to Europe but seasonal deals give way to sharp increases starting March 20.

• Spring: Weekend fares in April become increasingly expensive, but spring prices are cheaper than summer so try to fly before the early summer season begins on May 23.

• Summer: If you fly in late June, your ticket will cost on average from 60 to 70 percent more than you would have paid in January. The good news is, prices actually drop a bit in July, and drop again in late August and early September. To save on summer, simply avoid flights in the second half of June.

Cheap days for other regions

• Caribbean: A cheap time to fly is Jan. 20-30.

• South America: January is a relatively cheap time to fly, but look for a few cheap dates in April and May as well.

• Asia: Not much seasonal price variation but you can often save by flying midweek days.

• Australia: The month of May, just before the start of Australia’s winter season, is generally a cheap month to fly.

How to find the cheapest flights any time of year

Simple advice on finding the cheapest flights year-round: Always compare airfares from multiple sources! Yes, this is a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many people skip this step and go directly to their favorite airline to book tickets. The problem is, no airline always has the best deal and if you don’t compare, you could pay too much. Don’t be the person who pays too much in 2019, OK?

FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney is an airline industry insider and top media air travel resource. Follow Rick (@rickseaney) and never overpay for airfare again.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The cheapest days to fly in 2019

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