With you have plans to make it home for the holidays this year, you better heed the warnings and book your flights early. Most airlines have cut back on the number of available flights since 2008, and there is about 12 to 15% less capacity. Also fares have increased about 20 to 30% so expect to pay more. But what is going to make this an especially busy holiday season is the fact that many fliers did not go home for the holidays last year. Pressure is sure to mount as grandma insists you come home this year or face banishment from the clan. LOL
On a serious note, this is what is being said about flying this holiday season:
This year the holiday travel window is narrower than usual since the holidays fall on weekends. Consumers normally have a 16 to 19 day window for travel, but with both Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Saturdays this year, the peak travel period shortens to 14 days, experts say.
The time to book (or at the very least, shop around) is now. Prices may go down if you wait until closer to your departure date, but Seaney and Parsons predict the opposite: Planes will fill up fast.
“The first mistake travelers make while poking around online is searching for more than one seat, even if you have multiple people traveling together,” Parsons said.
Don’t forget to factor in peak travel surcharges. Most of the major carriers add $10 to $30 on top of published fares during the busiest travel periods.
Days around Thanksgiving with added charges include November 19-24 and 26-29, with the highest surcharges on November 28 and 29. Around Christmas and New Year’s, December 17 to 24 and December 26 through January 3 will be subject to peak travel surcharges, with $30 charges on December 23, 26 and 27 and January 2 and 3, according to Farecompare.
Be flexible on dates for the best fares. According to Farecompare.com, the cheapest days to fly are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The cheapest time to fly is typically the first flight out in the morning.
I am glad we are staying home this holiday season. It seems that trying to get home for the holidays may be more expensive and challenging than in previous years. But let’s face it. Flying during the holidays has always been anything than satisfying, unless you like large crowds, canceled flights and bad weather.┬á You also get to sit with people around you sneezing, coughing and sharing their germs.
What are your plans? Will you be flying home this holiday season?