Air travel in the summer of 2022 has been marked by increased cancellations, high prices, lost luggage, endless lines and general chaos.
If you’ve been scarred by your summer flying experiences, we don’t blame you. Fortunately, the situation is improving, but there are also ways to reduce the likelihood that you will have a bad experience. One of the most important is to be strategic about the day you travel.
We asked air travel experts to share which days they believe are best for passengers in terms of cost, crowds and cancellations. Turns out they had similar answers for all three.
The best days to fly in terms of cost
“Airline ticket prices can fluctuate from day to day,” said Martin Jones, CEO and travel expert at Airport parking reservations. “However, airlines are relatively predictable when it comes to price fluctuations. Generally, the cheapest days of the week to fly are those classified as ‘off-peak’ – Tuesdays and Wednesdays. »
Simply put, the higher the demand for a flight or travel day, the more likely you are to see higher prices. As such, it’s best to avoid flying on busy travel days.
“A lot of people take advantage of two weekends in a row by going on vacation on a Friday and coming back the following Saturday or Sunday,” said Phil Dengler, co-founder of The vacationer. “Many business travelers leave late Sunday evening or early Monday morning and return Friday. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the cheapest days as fewer people fly. We regularly see savings of 10% or more for flights departing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays compared to other days. »
And regardless of the day of the week, pay attention to other types of peak hours, such as the end of the year holidays or school holidays. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, for example, is usually one of the busiest and most expensive travel days of the year.
“Although Tuesdays and Wednesdays are on average the cheapest days to fly, you should always make sure this is true for your itinerary,” Dengler noted. “Factors such as the time of year and your destination and departure cities can influence prices. I recommend using the Google Flights calendar view before booking your flight to ensure the cheapest days.
“We regularly see savings of 10% or more for flights departing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays compared to other days.”
– Phil Dengler, co-founder of The Vacationer
And contrary to popular belief, he said, there is no “best” day or time to book a flight. The day you travel affects the cost more than the day you buy your ticket.
“There are great deals available every day of the week,” Dengler said. “So you shouldn’t limit yourself to just checking airfare prices on a certain day,”
The best days to fly in terms of crowds
“As well as being cheaper, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are also the best days to fly because there are fewer people at the airport,” Dengler said. “That means shorter security lines, less traffic around the airport and the ability to catch a flight that isn’t completely full.”
He noted that taking less-than-full flights also decreases your chances of having to check your carry-on and generally makes for a quieter experience.
“For those looking for a quieter flight, it is recommended to travel on off-peak days, especially Tuesdays and Wednesdays,” Jones echoed. “These days are generally less busy for travel; business travelers usually fly early and/or late in the week, while those traveling for pleasure often wait until the weekend.
The best days to fly in terms of cancellations
“Over the past few years, flight cancellations have become increasingly frustrating and seemingly unavoidable,” Jones said. “While any flight is technically responsible for cancellation, recent trends have shown that flight cancellations generally coincide with an airport’s population density. Therefore, it might be worth considering traveling on days off-peak, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Dengler noted that 2022 data from aviation intelligence firm FlightAware shows the fewest cancellations on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on average. The third best record was on Monday.
“Tuesday had significantly fewer cancellations per week (321) than Friday (826), which is the day with the most canceled flights,” Dengler explained.
He also pointed out that your choice of flight time can be important in avoiding cancellations and delays.
“Generally, early morning flights are much less likely to be canceled or experience a significant delay than flights departing later in the day,” Dengler said. “If possible, book a non-stop flight very early in the morning. One or more connections greatly increase your chances of experiencing a delay or cancellation. »
Flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday isn’t always an option, but if you can do it, those two weekdays could make the air travel experience that much more interesting.