If You’re Traveling at a Normal Time (Not During the Holidays or High Season)
Non-peak domestic flights present one of your best shots at timing your ticket-buying. This will be easiest if it’s a route you’re familiar with and you have a sense of what a good price is.
When to buy: Pelletier says, “Recent fare analysis by the Airlines Reporting Corporation, which processes ticket transactions for airlines and travel agencies, reported that over the past four years passengers paid the lowest price for domestic flights when buying just about six weeks in advance.”
Here’s your plan of attack:
Check available tickets eight to ten weeks before your departure. If the flights aren’t too full, wait until six weeks prior.
At six weeks: If the price looks good, go ahead and book. If the tickets look a little high but your flight is pretty full, buy anyway because fares will probably only go up. If the price is high and your flight is pretty empty, you can choose to wait a week or two to see if prices decrease.
Consult resources like Kayak’s fare chart and Bing’s price predictor to see if your flight’s price is likely to go down. Put a fare alert on a few different airlines.
Right before you’re two weeks out, buy your tickets. If you book within 14 days, airlines assume you’re a business traveler and will charge you a premium.