Book Your Flight At This Time Of Day Because Samantha Brown Says It's Best

No matter how often you book flights, sometimes it feels like reading Pig Latin. One minute, the flight you want costs $650, but if you wait even a few hours, it could skyrocket to over $1000 for the same route. The old standby to book on Tuesdays to save money isn't always true anymore. Yet travel expert Samantha Brown has one flight booking time hack that has served her well through the years — booking direct flights in the morning.

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Even though waking up early in the day is no fun, flying before 8 a.m. does have its benefits. For example, the airport will probably be much less crowded than later in the day. If you don't enjoy ultra-packed places, this approach might be your ticket to a less stressful airport adventure. But beyond that, there are many reasons why battling your alarm clock for an early morning departure might make up for the early wake-up.

Samantha Brown says morning flights are more pleasant

In her decades of traveling the world, expert Samantha Brown has gained quite a bit of airport experience. She swears by taking direct flights in the morning to make for a better travel experience. Brown noted on her site that, besides the more pleasant staff first thing in the morning, flights are less likely to face delays when you depart in the a.m.

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"Problems compound as the day goes long and the largest percentage of disrupted flights happens after 3:00 PM," Brown wrote. "Not to mention the later you leave your flight, the more likely you're getting staff who are nearing the end of their shift and have likely just spent all day dealing with stressed out fliers and flight issues. Think about yourself – are you happier and friendlier in hour one of a work shift or hour seven?"

Less risk for delay isn't just an anecdotal experience either. According to Bureau of Transportation Statistics data from 2013 reviewed by FiveThirtyEight, flight delays happen far less often between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Later in the day, delays grow longer, demonstrating Brown's point that earlier is better.

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You could save money with early flights

Even if crowds and delays don't bother you, another benefit to booking an early flight is that you'll save money. "As another bonus, morning flights often offer the cheapest, direct flight," expert Samantha Brown wrote on her site. "Airlines know most of us can't get our butts out of bed at 4:00 AM, hence the financial appeal. I know it's tough to wake-up at the literal crack of dawn, but if you can do it, you'll be rewarded!"

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The Points Guy researched price point data from Kayak to see if early flights are, in fact, more affordable. TPG discovered that flights between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. usually cost around 15% less than flights later in the day between April and December 2022. 

Brown's emphasis on booking early is also attached to choosing a direct flight without a layover. To do that, she recommends looking into flights to destinations with direct flights from your local airport before planning a trip. And keep timing in mind when booking, especially the month Brown says is the best month of the year for traveling. There are quite a few exotic escapes with nonstop flights to consider. For reference, Brown's favorite airport in the world to fly through is in Tampa. By flying directly (and in the early morning), you'll spend less time fussing around a terminal and more time genuinely enjoying your much-needed vacation.

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