Why Sunday probably isn't the best day to buy your plane ticket, contrary to reports

Remember the big news this week, that you should buy domestic airfare on a Sunday, precisely 57 days before your trip begins? I reported it, as did the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Time and just about every media outlet in North America. 

I'm disappointed to share that respected aviation analyst Brett Snyder says we all got it partially wrong. Yes, 57 days in advance is probably a good time to purchase domestic fares. But the Sunday thing? That's not really what the data suggests, Snyder argues forcefully on his blog, CrankyFlier.com. 

Here's what the study this week really means, according to Snyder. Business people purchase tickets from Monday through Friday. They pay more for their flights, so during the work week, average fare is higher. Business people don't buy tickets on the weekend. Leisure travelers buy fares on the weekend and they pay less because their most cost conscious. So yes, the average ticket price of a fare purchased on the weekend is lower. But that doesn't mean that airlines charge less for tickets on the weekends.. 

Snyder is mad at the media for missing this, and I get it. Here's what he writes: 

Does this mean that if you look to buy a ticket on Sunday, it’s going to be cheaper than if you looked at the same thing on Monday? No. All it means is that there’s a higher percentage of naturally more expensive business travel tickets being purchased during the week and a higher percentage of naturally less expensive leisure travel tickets being purchased on the weekend. In other words, it tells us nothing about when to buy a ticket to save money.

Want to read the study for yourself? It was produced by the Airlines Reporting Corp, and you can find it here.