Airline travel tips: How to save money when booking a flight

Airports around the nation are packed with passengers who are doling out a hefty amount for their plane tickets. 

Bookings have been picking up since around February as more Americans become vaccinated against COVID-19 and regain confidence in travel once again. On top of that, travel restrictions continue to ease. 

The airline industry’s recovery from the pandemic has become evident as a record number of passengers files through airport security checkpoints.

Last weekend, nearly 2.2 million passengers were screened at security checkpoints, marking the “highest checkpoint volume since the start of the pandemic,” according to TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein. 

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It’s a welcome relief for major U.S. carriers that piled up billions in losses as a result of virus-related restrictions and global lockdowns. However, the recent surge in leisure demand also means higher fares.

To help ease the pain on consumer wallets, travel website Hopper offered tips on when travelers should book flights. 

travelers wait for their luggage at a baggage carousel at Miami International Airport (AP Newsroom)

One way to reduce the financial burden is to “book no later than three weeks in advance of your intended departure date,” Hopper said. 

According to the travel website, prices tend to spike in the two weeks prior to departure dates, with rates increasing 25%. Meanwhile, rates will likely surge another 30% one week prior to departure, Hopper estimated. 

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When picking travel days, Hopper suggests looking at traveling midweek, specifically on a Tuesday or Wednesday for the best rates. 

The travel website noted, though, that return dates matter “a bit more.” 

Departing on a Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Hopper, will save consumers $20 on their round trips while midweek returns will save consumers an average of $30.

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However, “the absolute cheapest combination is to depart on a Saturday and return on a Tuesday,” according to Hopper. 

This combination could save consumers $50 when compared to trips departing on a Friday and returning on a Sunday, the travel website said. 

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