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

Feb 13, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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?

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.