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Best times to purchase cheap airline tickets

(KGO)
March 28, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Everyone knows airline tickets can be expensive, so 7 On Your Side looked into what you have to do to save on your next trip.

Spring break is almost over, but summer vacation will soon be here and that means it's time to start looking at airline tickets. Consumer Reports has partnered exclusively with 7 On Your Side to reveal the best times to buy your ticket in order to score the best deal.

It's always difficult to know if you are buying your ticket at the cheapest point. A new study has some facts that can change the way you make your next trip. A recent study by online travel booking site CheapAir looked at more than 25 million airline fares over the last year to determine the best times to find get the cheapest airfare.

"The best time to buy your ticket, on average, in 2012 for domestic flights was 49 days in advance, 7 weeks," said CheapAir CEO Jeff Klees. "For international travel, it was 81 days and that's between 11 and 12 weeks," he added.

The day of the week you choose to fly can save you a lot of money too. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally cheaper than other days of the week Friday and Sunday are the most expensive and in fact on average, if you fly on a Tuesday, you save $58 as opposed to flying on a Sunday.

Most people know that the most expensive times to buy a ticket is at the last minute, but Klees says the second worst thing you can do is buy your ticket too early. A flight opens for sale 330-335 days in advance. "The starting fares are a lot higher than what the lowest fare will eventually be," he said.

Fare pricing is not regulated by the government. Al Anolik is a travel lawyer who says the Department of Transportation does not want to be involved in fares and pricing. "They let the airlines do what they want with the frequent flyers, they let them adjust their prices. They're not watching," he said.

And despite the plethora of travel booking sites, Anolik's biggest tip is to find a good travel agent. "Travel agents are going to know when they load the computer with their fares. Whether that's a Tuesday morning or a Wednesday morning, they're going to be right on it and check that fare as it changes in the computer," he said.

This study also found that the idea that booking a trip on a Tuesday will save you big money is actually a myth. CheapAir found that in fact, on average, the savings were no more than a few dollars.

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