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Is There a Magical Day To Book Your Plane Ticket?

The fact that people are obsessed with finding a magical day to book only proves buying airline tickets is a voodoo science. But here’s a number anyway.

CheapAir claims that the best time to buy a ticket is 54 days out before departure for domestic travel. That’s what their 2013 data, with some four million trips in tow, says. (I’m still more inclined to go with Kayak’s data; something tells me that their pool of data is much larger. I also feel sorry for the person who had to trudge through all of that number-crunching.)

The Huffington Post quickly broke down CheapAir’s data for us:

Here are the “magic numbers” for some common international destinations:

Europe: 151 days before your flight
Asia: 129 days before your flight
The Caribbean: 101 days before your flight
Mexico: 89 days before your flight
Latin America: 80 days before your flight

It’s worth noting that this doesn’t at all jibe with other corroborating data I’ve seen for the Caribbean, Asia or South America. The company does go on and acknowledge there is a lot of volatility in the market, and, in the end, all that the numbers are averages. In fact, the company clarifies that:

It is less important to remember the 54 days number, and more important to understand that the market for each exact trip is so unique and so volatile that averages are not that meaningful. Unfortunately, there isn’t any silver bullet, best-time-to-buy, that you can mark in your calendar and not have to worry about.

Basically, like I suspected, there is no magic answer. If there was, I’d be a billionaire. Only magic airlines managing magic airline inventory.


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