Data Shows Winter and Fall Are Cheapest Times to Fly Within the US

Feb 13, 2017

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Depending on your destination, the cheapest time to see the United States could come in the dead of winter or the heart of fall, while flights to Canada may be the most affordable during the spring months. The findings come from Hipmunk’s annual review of when to visit 120 destinations across North America.

To determine the lowest overall prices for domestic flights, researchers used booking data for dates between July 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016. Analyzing thousands of flight combinations, the team pinpointed the cheapest times to fly to 103 cities across the United States, including Hawaii, and 17 Canadian cities.

Across the data table, the study revealed that January was the most affordable month to fly in the United States, as nearly two-thirds of destinations dropped in price during the first month of the year. Prices would then spike in February, as one-third of those destinations dropped off the low price radar, in accordance with other studies. Additionally, the fall months of September and October offered low prices to nearly half of the destinations surveyed.

The best time to get a deal to Hawaii is also during the winter. All five Hawaiian airports surveyed, including Honolulu, reported their lowest overall prices in either January or February. However, two airports offer deals outside of the winter: Kona (KOA) reported low overall prices in May, while Lihue (LIH) in Kauai had low prices in September. The new service planned for West Maui was not included in the surveying.

Travelers heading to the Great White North can find strong prices during the spring months. The research revealed 11 of the 17 Canadian destinations, including Toronto and Montreal, reported the lowest overall airfare between March and May every year.

So how much can you expect to save by booking during the optimal months? Travelers who booked a ticket to Las Vegas for January or February paid an nationwide average of $220, almost $100 lower than the peak average of $313 in July. For New York, the average nationwide airfare price in January and February was $271, compared to the peak prices of $354 in August and November. For Honolulu, the lowest average price of $614 in February is $247 less than the peak price of $861 in July.

When do you typically find the cheapest fares for your favorite destinations in North America?

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