The best day to buy airline tickets is…

You’ve probably heard that the best day to shop for airline tickets is Tuesday, when a flurry of fare sales are usually announced.

Scratch that, according to new data out today from the Wall Street Journal.

An in-depth analysis of round-trip airline ticket purchases through online and traditional travel agencies found that Sunday is best day to nab the lowest price.

The lowest average ticket price in the 19-month period covered, $432, was found on Sunday, the newspaper’s veteran airline columnist, Scott McCartney reports. Saturday wasn’t far behind, at $439.

The average fare on Tuesdays, according to the data from Airlines Reporting Corp., was $497. That’s the lowest point for the weekday The worst days: Monday, Thursday and Friday. The average fares on those days was $503, $501 and $502, respectively, according to the report.

ARC processes about half of the airline tickets sold. The data excludes tickets purchased directly from airlines.

635495874964997323-airportMcCartney notes that one factor that might skew the results in favor of Sunday is the lack of corporate ticket purchases on weekends. Business travelers tend to buy pricier tickets because they book at the last minute or want tickets with fewer restrictions.

Changing consumer behavior is at work, too, though. A Southwest Airlines executive told McCartney that the use of computer tablets like the iPad have made airfare shopping on the weekends more popular.

The newspaper’s analysis of ticket purchases found that 57 days before departure is the magic number for finding the lowest price. That’s up from 42 in 2012.

About Steve Grosz