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Best time to buy a plane ticket? On the weekend, according to study

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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A new study says the best time to buy plane tickets is on the weekend (Todd Korol/Reuters)

One economist has good news for bargain hunters: According to his data, you don’t have to sacrifice a good night’s sleep in order to get a cheap airplane ticket. That’s because tickets purchased on weekends are actually about 5 percent cheaper than those bought during the week.

"What we find is that when you look at otherwise very similar tickets, the tickets that were purchased on the weekends are about 5 percent lower," Texas A&M University economist Steven Puller told 1200 WOAI.

Published in the latest issue of the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Puller’s data flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which suggests that if you want the best deal, you should purchase a ticket on a Tuesday or Wednesday, specifically at around 1 a.m.

"Your typical purchaser on the weekends is going to be more price sensitive, and airlines might realize that and lower their fares," Puller told the station.

Still, some conventional wisdom did hold up in the study. For example, you’re still best off purchasing your ticket several weeks in advance, rather than waiting until the last minute for a good deal.

However, there are some caveats to the findings. Most prominently, Puller says the findings apply only to tickets purchased for locations that are not considered prime vacation destinations. That’s because there is less market competition from business travelers during the week, which would typically drive the price down, according to his findings.

Puller’s data is also strictly based on nonstop, round-trip flights. So, if you’re trying to find a great deal on Christmas flights, you’re still largely on your own.

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