-- Are you a true cheapskate?
You are if you do this when traveling: You always use a carry-on to avoid the checked-bag fee. You pack a lunch from home so you don’t pay for airline meals. And first class? Hah! Nothing but economy for you.
But true cheapskates do one more thing; they fly on the three cheapest days of the week. For U.S. domestic travel, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are usually the least expensive days to fly.
It’s simple, really: Demand is low because who wants to start a vacation in the middle of the week? Everyone wants to fly Fridays and Sundays but you pay a price for popularity and those are usually the most expensive days to fly.
These examples are for Los Angeles-to-New York flights in September, trips of about a week’s duration:
- Friday to Sunday: $365
- Wednesday to Tuesday: $288
- Friday to Sunday: $581
- Wednesday to Tuesday: $457
Time for some Saturday fares now. This example features Chicago-to-Atlanta routes:
- Friday to Sunday: $207*
- Saturday to Saturday: $89
*There were cheaper fares for this itinerary, but only if the Sunday flight departed at 5 a.m. or earlier.
Is the rule on the "cheapest three days to fly" etched in stone? No.
It is usually true but not always, which is why I urge people to be as flexible as possible whenever shopping for airfares. If you can step back from a fixed itinerary and use tools to find cheap days to fly during specific months you’d like to travel, do this. It can save a significant amount of money. And isn’t that what being a cheapskate is all about?
Rick Seaney is the CEO of FareCompare, a website that curates the best deals on flights from around the world. Any opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.