The holidays can make travelers intensely aware of how the time of year impacts flight prices. Traveling in late November, December, and the first week of January can be expensive. If those prices have you asking when the cheapest time to fly is, Scott’s Cheap Flights has some valuable data.
The site is good at tracking down an affordable fare, and it shared its expertise on what time of year you might find flights at their most affordable. It says the cheapest time of year to fly is January and February. (Well, less that little bit at the beginning of January after New Year’s Day.)
The site says that “virtually overnight,” around January 8, prices swing from the most expensive three-week stretch of the year to the cheapest. Fares can drop as much as 80% between those periods, even if you’re booking at the last minute.
Scott’s Cheap Flights illustrates the point by highlighting that price pendulum on a few round-trip flights. It found a swing of $1,078 to $198 for Seattle to Honolulu, for example.
Here are a few more fare shifts it found. Though, prices are constantly changing. These are just examples.
- Los Angeles to Boston: December 22-29: $889 vs. January 11-18: $138
- NYC to Dublin: December 21-28: $1,660 vs. January 9-16: $406
- Houston to Cancún: December 27-Jan 3: $852 vs. January 17-24: $191
It is not surprising that January into February is the cheapest time of the year to fly. It’s winter in the US, prices were just sky high, lots of people got their travel in recently, and the holidays are in the rearview mirror. So, if you’re looking to get out of town at the last minute, that could be a great time to search. Though, like anytime you’re looking for a cheap flight, you’ll have to dig around a bit to find the routes out of your home airport that wil entice you to book.