How Far in Advance should You Book a Flight?

How Early Should I Book my Flight? - Advance Flight Booking Rule

Advance flight booking is something that every traveler considers when planning his trip. But, what intrigues him is - how early to book so as to grab the best pricing?

The question is perfectly valid. Hence, needs to be answered.

As per an Expedia research, the best time to book flights in advance is 28 to 35 days prior to departure. However, Google investigation found 44 days preceding departure as ideal. 

The common thought that got reflected in both the researches was - Waiting till last minute will always result in higher flight prices. Ensure completing the reservation with a minimum 21 days remaining for take off. 

Common Perception & Myths Against - Best Time to Buy Flights

  • Flight tickets get cheaper close to the departure date.
  • If you reserve a flight seat way too early (advance booking of 5 months or more), you will secure the cheapest fare.
  • When you book at midnight on a Monday or Tuesday, the prices would be lower than usual. Not true, and certainly a myth!
  • Clearing the browser cookies and cache will aid in finding a lower price.

Valuable Tips & Tricks to Securing the Lowest Flight Fares

Finding the cheapest fares for your planned trip leveraging the advance flight booking option is possible. 

Take these factors into consideration.

  • Booking through Miles and Points
  • Flexibility with travel dates and being okay with layovers
  • Tuesdays & Wednesdays are still the most inexpensive days to fly.
  • Save as much as 8% on international travel and 15% on domestic, when commuting during the stated week days.
  • Rescheduling the trip by 2 or 3 days can make for a big difference in terms of flight pricing. Give it a try!
  • Avoid weekends, as they are the most costliest.
  • Don’t take a flight on a weekend right after a major holiday like New Year, Christmas, etc.
  • As per an Expedia study, booking made 28 days prior to departure, helped save travelers an average of 24% on cost, in match-up to last-minute bookings.
  • Booking way back in time before departure is also not good. 
  • Advance flight booking period of 3.5 - 6 months lead to a higher pricing for domestic trips.
  • Another study revealed - Booking a US domestic flight departing between 7 & 10 pm can save you 37% compared with a flight departure timing amid 4 & 9 AM.
  • Make the best use of flight price monitoring tools available for free on the web.
  • Use flight aggregator apps that let you compare prices for different airlines side by side.
  • To name a few - Google Flights, Expedia, Skyscanner, etc.

Benefits with Early Flight Booking

  • Cheaper Prices: By booking early, you exploit the best deals, and can steer clear of higher pricing applicable on dates close to departure.
  • More Flight Options: Advance booking offers you a vast range of flights to choose from.
  • Better choices to travel dates, departure timings, airlines in general, and a larger variety in seating types.
  • Peacefulness, Assurance, & Spare Time: When your travel schedule is fixed way well in advance, you get time to plan other elements of the tour, like lodging & trip activities. 
  • Greater Flexibility: With an early reservation, one can be more flexible with making adjustments in travel itineraries, if required.
  • Minimal to No Stress: Last-minute bookings bring in an ample amount of stress, which is not the case with bookings made sooner.

Limitations with Booking Flights in Advance 

While booking flights in advance has many benefits attached, there are drawbacks too.

  • Price Variations close to Departure Date: Booking way too early may sometimes put you in a difficult situation, as many times, the prices drop close to take-off dates.
  • Schedule Amendments: Airlines, sometimes, modify their schedule or cancel flights due to ad-hoc circumstances. An early booking can force you to modify your travel plan in such scenarios.
  • Unforeseen Incidents: Life is not certain, and sometimes emergencies happen, like a medical condition or an unfortunate event. Booking far ahead in time will make you cancel the plan itself.
  • Minimal Flexibility: Early bookings make you commit to a specific time and date, which in turn, limits flexibility in terms of changing plans. You get bound by the itinerary chosen the very first time.
  • Higher probability of attracting penalties if you go for last-minute changes in itinerary, or cancellations.
  • Missed Last-Minute Flight Deals: Many times, airlines announce promotions and offers closer to departure date, which you cannot cash, provided you booked way in advance.

In Conclusion..

From the article, we have already established by now that advance flight booking doesn’t work the way most people think about it. To gain a better insight into finding ways to lock the cheapest flight prices, follow the tips and tricks coming from a source that is trustable and holds some kind of authority.

Bon Voyage!


Is it better to book flights in advance?

Yes, it’s always recommended to book flight tickets in advance. But, if you go too far with booking early, it can negatively impact the pricing. Reserve your plane seats not more than three months prior to departure date.

How far in advance should you book a flight?

As a rule of thumb, book 1-3 months in advance. It’s advisable to keep checking prices on flight aggregator portals, price tracking tools, and OTAs, starting 3 months prior to the expected date of travel.
For international flights, plan at least 1.5 months in advance. 

What is the ideal flight ticket advance booking period?

It is 1-3 months before the date of flight departure. The more you are flexible with travel dates, the more you can save on flight prices.

Do early bird flight deals provide cheaper prices?

Yes, early bird flight prices are cheaper, compared to booking way prior or close to the date of flight departure. It’s a special category that honors first buyers. 

What week day is best for advance flight booking?

As per a study, the most economical day to book flights is ‘Sunday’. The research stated that passengers can save 15% on international, and 5% on domestic travel by booking on Sundays.