The holidays are just around the corner, and if you're anything like us, you’re probably hoping you won’t have to pay an arm and a turkey leg to get home to celebrate. Though most airline industry experts’ analysis is pointing to holiday fares that average about 10 to 20 percent more this year than last, there are still plentiful ways to snag a reasonable rate – just check out these 10 tips for booking holiday flights.
So why the “bah humbug” uptick in costs? Even though jet-fuel prices have remained relatively stable, there’s been a discernible surge in flyer demand (as evidenced by load factors averaging 87 percent on flights this summer). Once-reluctant travelers who may have skipped out on the heavily recession-hit holidays of 2008, and even into 2009, just aren’t willing to hold off on Aunt Edna’s homemade pumpkin pie another year. And though travelers have proven eager to get back in the air, the copious number of routes that have been grounded over the last couple of years (as much as 15 percent of capacity has been cut since 2008, in response to the economic crisis) translates to fewer seats for sale – and less desperation on behalf of the airlines to fill them.
Add to that airlines’ sneaky smattering of “peak travel surcharges” and a seeming never-ending slew of once unheard-of airline fees, and you have a recipe for pricey travels – in short, leave procrastination to only the most coolheaded of gamblers this year, as savings will only be slimming as the holidays near.
Though finding decent Thanksgiving deals this late in the game won't exactly be a turkey shoot, there’s still hope for those of you who act before October’s end, when things will really get hairy; ditto for travelers who get to booking no later than early November for the December holidays. Gobble up some of the best fares out there by referencing our Top 10 Tips For Booking Holiday Flights, and then compare airline rates online via ShermansTravel's nifty Travel Search tool. Here's to a merry money-saving holiday!