It’s all about supply and demand.
As the demand goes up during the holidays, so do airfares.
From Thanksgiving through New Years, it is generally hard to find low fares.
But there are a few tricks:
1. Try to fly on less popular travel dates to avoid peak crowds and highest fares.
The worst days will be:
Tuesday before Thanksgiving
Sunday after Thanksgiving
December 22, 23, or 26
The best days are:
Wednesday before Thanksgiving (really!)
Early on Thanksgiving Day
Early on Christmas Day
2. The best time to buy airline tickets is after midnight during the week when fares
are uploaded. There are only a handful of cheap seats. When those get sold out,
the price goes up to the next tier and so on. Another good time to buy tickets
is on Tuesday afternoon when sales are posted.
3. Flights with connections cost less than direct or non-stop flights. The big concern
with connecting flights is delays and missed connections. This depends on which
airports and airlines you use. For example, Chicago’s O-Hare airport is
notoriously bad for delayed flights. American has one of the worst records with
an on-time departure of only 54 percent. Be careful about tight connections.
Not allowing enough time between connecting flights can easily caused a missed
connection these days. Rebooking on the next flight may not be an option if a plane
is full or it is the last flight of the day. www.flightstats.com
4. Check alternate airports to compare fares. Flying out of a different airport usually
results in a different fare that may be much less than your hometown or main
5. Comparison shop. Compare the fares offered by the airlines by visiting their websites (for a complete listing, http://www.listofairlines.org/),
check one or two popular travel sites (they are generally comparable), auction
sites (http://www.priceline.com/ is one of my favorites), and reputable consolidators.
*Check with the airline on its carry-on bag dimensions to make sure you won’t have a problem with your carry-on bag being too large.
*Do not wrap any gifts you are taking in your carry-on bag.
*ake sure you’re allowed to take the items on board. For example, gift baskets with food, snowglobes, and wine or liquor cannot be carried on the plane.
*Be sure to check an airline’s policies on first and second bag charges and early boarding options. Due to the holidays, you may need a second bag and may find early boarding worth the price. www.tsa.gov
*Make sure you allow enough time to clear security check points. Expect more travelers during this time of year, which means more delays.
This information comes from The Encyclopedia of Cheap Travel: Save Up to 90% on Lodging, Flights, Tours, Cruises, and More! (Second Edition, 2011. ISBN 978-0615-514727. Also available in ebook format.