Are you already thinking about travel in 2022? It’s not as far away as you might think.
You can now book flights as far out as January 2022! Nearly all airlines put flights on sale 330 days (roughly 11 months) in advance. So as of this weekend, that window to book flights rolled over into early 2022.
That’s worth keeping in mind, whether you’ve written off travel in 2021 or are simply planning ahead. For weeks, we’ve been finding cheap flights for our Thrifty Traveler Premium members as far out – and honestly, the fares have never been cheaper.
Here’s what you need to know about when airlines put flights up for sale – and what that means for the savvy traveler.
It Can Pay to Plan Ahead
Major U.S. airlines including Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, and United publish flights 11 months days out. The same is true for most major international airlines, too – expect to be able to book flights roughly 11 months out, give or take a few days. Some, including Spain’s Iberia and Japan’s ANA, go a full year out!
But other airlines like JetBlue and many budget carriers like Allegiant, Frontier, Spirit, Sun Country, and Southwest publish their flight schedules on a rolling basis. That means they may only publish flights six to ten months in advance – or less. But they’ll continually push out that window to make more future flights bookable.
Here’s a brief look at how some of the big U.S. airlines schedule flights for sale.
|Alaska||330 days in advance|
|American||331 days in advance|
|Delta||331 days in advance|
|Hawaiian||330 days in advance|
|JetBlue||Currently through Sept. 7, 2021|
|Southwest||Currently through Aug. 16, 2021|
|Sun Country||Varies by route|
|United||334 days in advance|
Booking last-minute flights are rarely a good idea – though that has changed during the pandemic. Your best bet is almost always to book at least 30 to 45 days in advance.
But should you be booking flights for 2022 today? Will that get you a better deal? Maybe. Airlines constantly play with prices and availability, so the best time to book a flight can be unpredictable. At the very least, it never hurts to scope out your options far in advance.
We always preach that using Google Flights is the best spot to capture cheap airfare. And when you use Google Flights, you’ll see that you can search for flights up to 11 months out from the current date. Yes, in this case, you’ll already see fares in January of 2022! Here’s a look at a flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Athens, Greece (ATH) over New Years’.
But keep in mind that just because an airline is selling these flights doesn’t mean that flight will take off as planned. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced airlines to drastically cut their schedules – but they often don’t do so until just a month ahead of time.
That means the flight you book today could get changed (or even canceled) by the time it draws closer as airlines work out what they actually want to fly while travel demand improves. Remember: If an airline cancels or significantly changes your flight, they owe you a refund!
Ready for 2022? What To Remember
Keep a few things in mind when searching for cheap flights through 2021 and into 2022.
Right now you can only find fares through the first few days in January 2022. Each and every day, that window will push out farther and farther.
Thinking about flights over Christmas or New Years’? It’s worth scoping out your options now – especially considering airlines are allowing free change and cancellation to all new fares. Just be sure to follow our 11 tips to save big on airfare – go-to concepts whenever you’re planning your next trip, not just for 2022 travel.
Don’t Miss The Next Best Deal in 2022
Let us do the work for you!
We find flight deals up to 11 months in advance and instantly alert our Thrifty Traveler Premium members. If you’re already thinking of 2022 travel, signing up for Thrifty Traveler Premium for only $5.99 a month is your best bet.
For example, check out these dirt-cheap fares to Cancun (CUN) we sent to Premium members last week with availability all the way through 2021!
Get alerts for fares like this (plus domestic trips, too) for just $5.99 a month with Thrifty Traveler Premium!
2020 rocked the travel world, 2021 is off to a slow start, but what about 2022? One thing’s for sure: You can already book flights that far out.
We’re bullish on the future of cheap flights even after the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us. And if you’re all about planning (way) ahead, you’re in luck – cheap flights all the way through 2021 and into 2022 are already cropping up.