If you’ve been putting off that summer trip, good news: Airline ticket prices drop in late August for both U.S. domestic and transatlantic international flights. If you can wait until the magic date to fly you will save money.
Magic Date to Fly – Aug. 22
This year – 2017 – the magic date when many U.S. domestic airfares fall from peak summer prices is Aug. 22. This marks the end of peak-summer pricing (demand drops because children go back to school) and the start of the cheaper fall deal zone. To take advantage of the magic date and cheaper fall deal zone prices, you can shop now but be sure your itinerary starts on or after Aug. 22. Keep reading because there are some exceptions to this date.
- Tip: This date varies from year to year but is usually in late August.
6 Things to Know about Magic Date Prices Drop
1. When is the fall deal zone?
- For flights within the U.S. – The fall deal zone begins Aug. 22 and extends through mid-December (with a spike for U.S. fliers in late November during the Thanksgiving holiday)
- For transatlantic flights to/from the U.S. – The deal zone begins Aug. 21 and continues through mid-December
2. Do all airlines have the same magic date?
Not always. We've seen several late summer airfare sales offered by U.S. airlines where the magic date varies slightly; larger airlines tend to offer deals on flights taking off Aug. 22 and beyond, while smaller discount carriers drop prices a few days earlier. Tip: Compare fares for multiple itineraries (and this is where the Getaway Map is extremely useful).
3. How much can you save?
It varies by departure and destination cities but in previous years, we’ve seen prices drop 15 to 20% from peak summer fares. Your savings could vary.
4. How to find the cheapest flights?
Here are some of the easiest ways:
- Always compare fares. No single airline always has the best deal.
- Set airfare alerts. When prices drop you’ll be notified instantly.
- See the Getaway Map. A glance will tell you what’s cheap and what’s not.
5. When’s the next price drop?
Watch for price drops during these travel periods:
- Mid to late October
- First two weeks in November (particularly for U.S. flights)
- After the first week of January through mid to late March (except for some in-demand warm weather destinations).
6. What travel periods should be avoided?
- In the U.S.: Avoid the Thanksgiving travel period; the holiday itself falls on Thursday, Nov. 24 this year but the Wednesday before and the Sunday after are particularly expensive.
- In much of the world: Avoid the days immediately surrounding Christmas (Dec. 25) and New Year's (Jan. 1) as they are usually peak travel periods.
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