Air travel can be a nerve-wracking experience for many, with 55% of Americans admitting that it causes them more stress than filing taxes or visiting the dentist.
Expedia comes to the rescue with its 2024 Air Travel Hacks Report, offering data-backed strategies to ease the stress and save you money.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into these hacks and uncover the secrets to making your air travel experience a breeze.
Book Domestic Airfare 28 Days in Advance
One of the most significant revelations from this year’s report is the optimal time to book domestic flights. According to Expedia’s research, booking your domestic airfare approximately 28 days before your departure date can lead to savings of up to 24%.
This far surpasses the 10% average savings that travelers enjoyed in 2022. So, plan ahead and secure your tickets well in advance to maximize your savings.
International Travel: The Sweet Spot Is 60 Days Out
For international travel, timing is key. Expedia recommends booking your international flights around 60 days before your planned departure date. This timing not only ensures optimal availability but also offers average savings of around 10%.
It’s worth noting that booking too far in advance (more than four months out) may not yield the same benefits as in previous years when the sweet spot was closer to six months out.
Sunday: Your Wallet’s Best Friend
When it comes to booking flights, the day of the week matters. Expedia’s data shows that Sunday consistently emerges as the cheapest day to book flights.
On average, travelers can save up to 13% by booking their tickets on a Sunday. In contrast, Fridays tend to be the most expensive day for booking flights. So, if you’re looking to cut costs, consider making your reservations on a Sunday.
Fly Before 3 P.M. for Fewer Delays and Cancellations
If you want to minimize the chances of flight delays and cancellations, opt for flights departing before 3 p.m. Expedia’s statistics reveal that flights departing after this time have a 50% higher chance of being canceled than their earlier counterparts.
By choosing morning or early afternoon flights, you can significantly reduce the impact of potential disruptions to your travel plans.
Price Drop Protection: Your Safety Net
Expedia’s commitment to stress-free travel doesn’t end with booking. More than a quarter (28%) of U.S. travelers continue to monitor ticket prices even after booking. With Expedia’s Price Drop Protection, you can book with confidence.
This innovative feature ensures that if the price of your ticket drops on Expedia after you’ve made your purchase, you’ll receive a refund—a valuable perk that adds peace of mind to your travel plans.
A Less Stressful Future of Air Travel
In addition to these valuable hacks, Expedia’s analysis brings more good news for travelers.
Average ticket prices have remained relatively stable compared to the previous year, and flight cancellation rates have improved significantly, dropping from 4.1% in 2022 to just 1.7% in 2023.
These positive trends are especially comforting for travelers who have cited finding good deals (61%) and worrying about disruptions (28%) as major sources of travel-related stress.
Melanie Fish, the head of Expedia Group Brands public relations, emphasizes, “In terms of stress levels, booking your next flight shouldn’t be in the same ballpark as getting a cavity filled.”
She adds that Expedia is continuously releasing new tools like Price Tracking and Price Drop Protection to make the entire booking and flying journey smoother.
Behind the Data
Expedia’s annual Air Travel Hacks Report derives its authority from an analysis of billions of data points and the world’s most extensive air ticketing database.
This is made possible through a collaboration with Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) and OAG, ensuring that travelers have access to the most up-to-date and accurate information for stress-free travel.
Chuck Thackston, managing director of data science and research at ARC, notes, “Airlines are adding capacity and increasing service to meet the sustained air travel demand we’ve seen throughout 2023.”
“Air travel has proven resilient over the past few years, with travelers increasingly taking to the skies for both business and leisure. Fortunately for those travelers, the cost of airfare has been below 2022 levels for most of the year.”
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is based on Expedia’s 2024 Air Travel Hacks Report. Travelers are advised to verify current guidelines and regulations from relevant authorities before making travel plans.
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