Cheap Flight Day marks start of lower fall fares

Use these tips to score a great deal on airfare

If you’re not a frequent traveler, Aug. 23 may have had no special significance, but for those of us who spend a lot of time in the sky, it was even better than Black Friday. That’s because Aug. 23, aka Cheap Flight Day, marked the start of the fall travel season, when airlines typically drop fares on many if not most of their routes. Here are some answers to common questions about Cheap Flight Day and some tips on getting the best fall fares out of Austin.

I didn’t book anything on Aug. 23! Did I miss my chance? No! Cheap Flight Day should really be called Cheap Flight Season, because the reduced fares will continue to be available (and could even drop more) through early November.

Why do the airlines start lowering fares on Aug. 23? By Aug. 23, the majority of kids have gone back to school and the demand for leisure travel decreases a lot. Airlines know this, so they drop fares by 20 percent or more.

Does this apply to international flights? Yes! There’s a drop in fares for international as well as domestic flights.

What are the best days to fly to get a good fare? Traditionally, traveling on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays will get you the best deals, but that can vary widely depending on where and when you’re going.

How far in advance should I book fall travel? Typically you want to book at least 30 days ahead.

Where can I go on the cheap in the next few months? Here’s a sample of some deals I found last week out of Austin in September and October. All deals were active as of press time:

  • Austin to Denver, traveling Sept. 21-24: $78.20 round-trip on Frontier Airlines. (Note: Frontier is a low-cost airline that charges extra for seats, luggage, etc. This fare is for a free middle seat with only a small carry-on; if you have other specifications, you’ll pay more.)
  • Austin to Chicago O’Hare, traveling Oct. 15-19: $96.20 round-trip on United Airlines.
  • Austin to Montreal, traveling Sept. 7-13: $322 round-trip on American Airlines.
  • Austin to Beijing, traveling Sept. 8-15: $620.36 round-trip on Delta.

What sites can help me find good deals? If you want to get out of town but don’t care where you’re going, try using You can enter your departure city and it will give you a list of places where you can travel for cheap. I also like, and And be sure to sign up for weekly alerts and last-minute deal alerts on the major airline websites, including, and

What are some other tips for finding deals this fall?

  • Don’t forget to include Houston, San Antonio and Dallas as possible departure cities in your searches, especially for international travel. It can be worth the drive if you can score a low fare.
  • Consider booking a trip to a place where you can access a national park, as it’s the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and there are lots of park-related deals to be found.
  • Be flexible with your dates. You know how most airlines offer a calendar view that allows you to see all of the fares to a particular destination for the month? If you have some wiggle room in terms of when you travel, book according to the lowest fare.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Travel

Austin might be the ‘most difficult’ real estate market in Texas
Austin might be the ‘most difficult’ real estate market in Texas

As Austinites are in the middle of appealing-your-property-tax season, the folks over at would like to let you know about property investment across Texas. How did Austin do? As you might imagine, the answer is complicated. In a opinion piece entitled “Looking to Buy a Home in Texas? These Cities Are the Best Investments...
In an era of empowerment, more trips for women

The #MeToo movement inspired women around the world to speak up about issues of gender equality and female equality.  Now the tourism industry is focusing on empowerment, with new tours and programs designed specifically for women travelers.   On March 8 — International Women’s Day 2018 — Exodus Travels, a London-based...
Kentucky capital a hard hat destination with plenty to do
Kentucky capital a hard hat destination with plenty to do

FRANKFORT, Ky. — “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” Not really — it only feels that way because so many buildings on Frankfort’s, horizon have come down and are going up. But even with implosions, dust clouds and a shifting skyline, Kentucky’s capital city remains open for business, its downtown straight out...
If you go to Richmond, Virginia, don't miss these wonders

I owe Richmond an apology. Countless times, I've zipped past the exits for this capital city, a place not quite far enough from Washington, D.C., for a pit stop on a road trip, and not quite close enough for a meal. Last month, I ran out of excuses. I pulled off Interstate 95 and entered Richmond, Virginia, for the first time.  Only 100 miles...
Six tips to save big on a trip to Tokyo

Tokyo isn’t typically a destination for budget travelers, according to Jonathan Alder, a travel agent and Tokyo expert.  “Hotels, dining out and transportation are all quite expensive in the city, but you don’t need to have deep pockets to have an upscale trip,” he said.   Following are some tips to enjoy a luxury...
More Stories