By Daniel Hunter
New research by Which? Travel has found that, for outbound flights, Tuesday is the cheapest day of the week to fly with the biggest airlines in the UK - British Airways, EasyJet and Ryanair.
Looking at 1,174 September flights to three destinations in Europe - Alicante, Barcelona and Dublin - we found that Tuesday is, on average, the best day to fly out of the UK if you want to pay less for a flight. Friday and Saturday were joint most expensive for British Airways, Friday was the most expensive for EasyJet, and Sunday the most expensive for Ryanair.
Coming home, Sunday is, on average, the most expensive day to return to the UK. Mid-week inbound flights were the cheapest, with the lowest average prices available from Tuesday to Thursday.
Significant price differences
The money you could save travelling on a different day can be quite significant. For EasyJet, we found return flights from Alicante to Gatwick on Sundays were on average 45% or £56 more expensive than Thursdays. Flights to Alicante on a Friday were, on average, 35% or £28 more expensive than on a Tuesday.
Cheaper times of the day to fly
Which? Travel also found that there were cheaper times of the day to fly, depending on which airline you booked with. All of EasyJet's most expensive outbound flights were in the morning (from 5.45am to 11.50am), and the most expensive return flights were in the afternoon (between 2pm and 3.55pm). EasyJet's cheapest inbound flights were in the evening.
As for British Airways, 86% of its cheapest outbound flights were in the morning (before 7.30am) and 86% of its cheapest return flights in the evening. When checking prices in August, BA's two early morning outbound flights on 6 September were £106 - an evening flight was 52% higher at £161.
"With household budgets squeezed, holidaymakers will want to make sure they are getting a good deal on their flights," Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said.
"We found that people can save a significant sum of money if they shop around and can be flexible, changing the day or time they choose to travel."
In August, Which? Travel tracked the prices for one person with one piece of checked-in luggage on a return flight in the first four weeks of September, from each airline's main airport to one of its most popular destinations. We looked at British Airways flights between Heathrow and Barcelona, EasyJet between Gatwick and Alicante, and Ryanair between Stansted and Dublin.
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