The cheapest times for Australians to fly

Find out the times, days and months to book so you get more bang for your buck.

Updated

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Cheap travel isn't hard to come by if you know when and where to look. And by being open to keeping your itinerary flexible.

Booking on and for certain dates in the week could be all you need to do to shave a couple of bucks off your holiday.

Reserve in advance or fly during the off season and you could save a even more than a couple of bucks.

Hot Tip: If you can, tick the "flexible dates" option when searching for flights. This way you can see if flying a day before or after could be cheaper than flying on your nominated date.

Planning a trip soon? Here's when you should fly to nab a cheap-as-chips flight:


When to fly in the day

Generally speaking, early morning flights, lunch time flights or late night flights are the cheapest. This is quite possibly because of the lack of transport that some airports offer at these times.

As well as getting a cheap ticket for an early morning flight, if you’re flying locally you could also arrive in your destination earlier, meaning you have more time to explore on your first day. The negative – and possibly another reason why these flights are cheaper – is that if you’re flying further, you’ll likely spend the day in the air.

Meanwhile, the most expensive flights in the day are in the evening between 5pm and 9pm. This timeframe means you can sleep on the plane and won’t have to take the day off work to fly.

To give you an example of how flight prices change throughout the day, this graph is based on airfares for domestic carriers travelling Sydney to Melbourne on Wednesday 17 June 2020. Prices are accurate at the time of writing and times used were taken to the nearest 30 minutes:


When to fly in the week

The best times to fly are during the working week - particularly on Tuesday or Wednesday. Prices peak on Friday evening and Sunday evening or Monday morning for those looking to go on a weekend getaway without having to cash in their annual leave.

If you’ve got the leave to spare or some time in lieu, try and fly out on a Tuesday or Wednesday, as they’re the least popular days due to them being in the middle of the working week.

Saturday is also an option as it's in the middle of the weekend. Here’s a look at how flight prices change during the week on domestic carriers. The prices used are the lowest prices on each carrier for the week of 13-19 July flying Sydney to Melbourne.


When to fly in the year

Generally, wherever you’re eyeing the best time to fly to it is during your destination’s off-peak season. This could mean during the monsoon season if you’re headed to Asia, or during winter if you’re headed to an island resort.

If those options don’t appeal to you, work with shoulder seasons (the time just before or after peak season). Sometimes you can get lucky weather-wise and the prices will not be as high as if you flew in during the peak.

Peak season tends to fall during the school holidays, Christmas holidays, days of significance (eg, Chinese New Year) or snow season (if it’s a popular skiing destination).

Below is a snapshot of the cheapest months to fly to some of the most popular destinations for Australian travellers. Destinations are chosen from ABS data on Australian departures for April 2016. Flight prices have been gathered through Skyscanner by choosing the "cheapest month" option for departures from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The cheapest months to fly to set destinations:

BaliQueenstownAucklandLos AngelesBangkokPhuketLondonTokyoSingaporeNadi (Fiji)Hong Kong
JanuaryYes
FebruaryYesYes
MarchYesYesYesYes
AprilYesYesYes
MayYesYes
June
JulyYesYes
AugustYesYesYesYesYesYes
SeptemberYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
OctoberYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
NovemberYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
DecemberYes

When to book for cheap flights

Timing is everything and when it comes to the booking cheap flights there are times that work better than others. According to Skyscanner, generally, the earlier you book the more you'll save though booking approximately 17 weeks prior to departure can save you up to 5% off flights on many international departures.

Some exceptions to this rule include closer destinations like New Zealand and Singapore which you can still get cheaply up to 11 weeks in advance.

A similar pattern follows for domestic flights. Book 15-17 weeks in advance for long-haul domestic (e.g. Sydney to Perth) and you can save up to 25%. Book 5-11 weeks on shorter haul flights (eg, Sydney to Brisbane or Melbourne to Brisbane) and again, you're looking to save up to 25% off.

As to what day is best to book flights Business Insider suggests the weekends or Tuesday. This is because most business travellers book their weekend trips during the week so weekends are opened up to leisure travellers searching for cheap flights.

It's also worth it to keep on top of regular sale periods for specific carriers such as Virgin Australia Happy Hour, Wotif Flyday and Jetstar Friday Frenzy.


Searching for cheap flights?

These are the sales and deals helping you go on that holiday sooner.

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Domestic flights from $89 each way

Available on flights from January - September 2021 to Gold Coast, Brisbane, Cairns, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart, Townsville, Darwin and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Ballina. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Qatar Airways Qatar Airways

Up to 10% off international flights with code

Available for Mastercard holders on flights from 1 November 2020 - 30 June 2021. Valid on flights departing from Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, and Canberra. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Trip.com Trip.com

Virgin Australia flights from $78 each way

Available on select travel dates until December 2021 to Gold Coast, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Canberra, Cairns, Hamilton Island and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Melbourne. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Flights to Fiji from $568 return

Available on select flights dates in 2021 with Fiji Airways. Sample fare is Brisbane-Nadi. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Etihad Airways Etihad Airways

International flights from $1,226 each way

Available on select flights until 30 November 2021 departing from Melbourne and Sydney. Destinations include London, Abu Dhabi, Beirut and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Dubai. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

Singapore flights from $550 each way

Available on select dates in March 2021. Sample fare is Perth-Singapore with Cathay Pacific. Other airlines include Singapore Airlines and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

Air New Zealand flights from $710 return

Available on select dates in 2021 to Auckland, Christchurch and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Queenstown. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

New Zealand flights from $404 with Jetstar

Available on flights from March - September 2021 to Auckland, Christchurch and more. Sample fare is Gold Coast-Queenstown. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

I Want That Flight I Want That Flight

Australia flights from $80 return

Available on flights until June 2021 with Jetstar. Destinations include Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sydney, Ballina, Uluru, Townsville and more. Sample fare is Melbourne-Hobart. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Hawaiian Airlines Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaii flights from $1,106 return

Available on select flights from July - December 2021. Sample fare is Sydney-Honolulu. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

London flights from $1,081 return

Available on select flights in 2021 departing from Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and more. Sample fare is Perth-London with Philippine Airlines. Other airlines include Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Australia-wide flights from $65 return

Available on select flights in 2021 to Sydney, Hobart, Gold Coast, Canberra, Newcastle and more. Sample fare is Adelaide-Melbourne with Jetstar. Other airlines include Virgin Australia and Qantas. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Kayak Kayak

Worldwide flights from $1,199 each way with Emirates

Available for travel until 25 March 2021 to London, Dubai, India and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Dublin. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Trip.com Trip.com

Qatar Airways flights from $961 each way

Available on select travel dates until December 2021 to Manchester, Barcelona, Cape Town, Maldives, Athens, Dublin and more. Sample fare is Adelaide-London. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Qatar Airways Qatar Airways

Europe flights from $1,249 return

Available for flights on select dates in 2021. Sample fare is Perth-Amsterdam. Destinations include Stockholm, Barcelona, Paris, London Heathrow, Athens, Frankfurt, Rome and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Qatar Airways Qatar Airways

Free change and refund fees on flights

Available on 2021 flights to London, Paris, India, Greece, USA and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Trip.com Trip.com

Qantas flights from $111 each way

Available on select travel dates until December 2021 to Adelaide, Hobart, Cairns, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Melbourne. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Free flight change fees and cancellation fees

Available on flights until 30 June 2021 to Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart, Darwin, Broome, Cairns and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Virgin Australia Virgin Australia

Western Australia flights from $199 each way

Available on select dates until November 2021 Perth, Broome and Kununurra. Plus get flexible dates on flights until 31 January 2021. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Cheap air Cheap air

Europe flights from USD$1,662 return

Available on select travel dates to Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Cathay Pacific Cathay Pacific

Up to 25% off business class flights

Available on select travel dates to Japan, London, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, San Francisco and more. Must book 30-90 days in advance. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Cathay Pacific Cathay Pacific

Hong Kong flights from $940 return

Available on flights until January 2022 departing from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and more. Sample fare is Perth-Hong Kong. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

British Airways British Airways

Flights to London from $1,288 return

Available on select flights until December 2021. Sample fare departs from Sydney. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

British Airways British Airways

Flights to United Kingdom from $1,270 return

Available on flights until 31 December 2021 to London, Edinburgh and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Manchester. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Qatar Airways Qatar Airways

Up to 20% off flight experiences

Available when you purchase extra baggage, lounge access or meet and assist services online. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

KLM KLM

$1,515: Europe flights from Adelaide

Available on select travel dates to Amsterdam, London, Dublin, Rome and more. Sample fare is Adelaide-Helsinki. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

KLM KLM

Flights from Sydney from $1,537

Available on select travel dates to Amsterdam, London, Helsinki, Rome and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Dublin. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Air Canada flights from $1,815 each way

Available on select flights in 2021 to Toronto, Kelowna, Edmonton and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Vancouver. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Flights to Malaysia from $367 return

Available on select flights in 2021. Sample fare is Perth-Kuala Lumpur.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Flights to USA from $412 return

Available on select flights in 2021 to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Honolulu with Jetstar.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Flights to New Zealand from $265 return

Available on select flights in 2021 to Christchurch, Queenstown, Wellington and more. Sample fare is Gold Coast-Auckland with Jetstar. Other airlines include Air New Zealand from $555 and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Skyscanner Skyscanner

Singapore flights from $366 return

Available on select dates in 2021. Sample fare departs from Darwin with Jetstar. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

OneTravel OneTravel

Up to USD$100 off business class flights

Available on booking fees on select flight dates. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Cook Islands, London and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

OneTravel OneTravel

Up to USD$20 off flights

Available on flight fees on select travel dates. Destinations include Gold Coast, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

OneTravel OneTravel

Up to USD$30 off flight booking fees

Available on select travel dates to Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Darwin and more. Applies to bookings up to 6 persons. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

OneTravel OneTravel

Up to USD$10 off flight fees

Available on select travel dates to Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Darwin and more. Maximum of 2 travelers. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

OneTravel OneTravel

Up to USD$20 off flight fees

Available on all dates on flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Hobart, Canberra, Adelaide and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

OneTravel OneTravel

Up to USD$25 off booking fees

Available on select travel dates. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and more. Maximum of 5 travelers. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Kayak Kayak

Australia-wide flights from $139 with Qantas

Available on select travel dates in 2021 to Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Coffs Harbour and more. Sample fares is and Melbourne-Launceston. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

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