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Booking a Flight on This Day Could Save You 15%

The debate about the best time to book rages on.

You keep refreshing the page hoping that the ticket price you saw when you first searched for the flight comes back -- some do this fruitlessly for hours while others have made a career out of teaching others how to cross-analyze airline sites and nail down the cheapest possible ticket.

There has, for years, also been a debate about whether booking at certain dates or times will give one that elusive discount airplane ticket. 

Some will swear on Tuesday while others will, regardless of when they're traveling, never book a ticket on a month other than January, May, September or November.

Wednesday Is The Middle Seat Of Travel Days

In its annual Air Travel Hacks report, online travel agency Expedia  (EXPE) - Get Free Report advises those looking to save money on airfare to book flights on a Sunday but travel on a Wednesday.

The latter makes intuitive sense as demand for travel is highest closer to the weekend -- for those following a standard work schedule, Wednesday travel is too disruptive.

But Sunday is, for whatever reason, a day when fewer people are scrolling through the flight aggregator. According to Expedia, booking flights on its site on the last day of the week will save one an average of 5% on domestic flights and 15% on international ones.

"While the best day of the week to book has been Sunday for the past four years, travelers saved 5% more on average in 2022 compared to 2021," Expedia writes in the report.

Booking early is less romantic than a last-minute winter escape to California but those who secure their ticket a month before the flight pay an average of 10% less for the ticket. But don't plan too far in advance -- the perfect time to get a discount on a domestic flight is from 28 to 35 days before the date of travel.

Here's How You Can Minimize Cancellations And Travel Disruptions

For international flights, one can save 10% by booking six months before the date of travel. This, however, is too early for most people who can't plan work and life events that far into the future.

As airlines struggle to rehire staff laid off en masse in 2020 and meet post-pandemic demand, cancellations and other disruptions are a salient topic for many -- this summer, many observed hours-long check-in lines while over 20% of all domestic flights left later than scheduled.

Overall, the situation has been getting better after peaking during what some called "the summer of horrible travel" -- Expedia calculated that flights booked through its platform went from being cancelled 7% of the time at the start of 2022 to just 3% of the time in August.

That said, those looking to avoid cancellations and other delays should book flights leaving before 3 p.m. -- flights departing in the late afternoon and early evening have statistically higher chances of being delayed. If a delay does occur, it also leaves one more likely to be stranded in another city overnight.'

"After peaking during the summer months, airfare prices dropped again for fall and are expected to rise again for the busy holiday period," Expedia writes in the report. "While overall capacity (airplane seats and flights available for a given route) has increased over the course of the year [...] it still sits below 2019 levels as airlines work to fully restore operations to pre-pandemic levels."