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Home / Business / Winter Vacation Flights 2019: Tips for Thanksgiving and Christmas Bookings

Winter Vacation Flights 2019: Tips for Thanksgiving and Christmas Bookings



(CNN) – While there is plenty of advice in the travel industry to buy the cheapest airline tickets, it is hard to escape reality: flying in some of the busiest periods of the year is generally not cheap .

Which airline will offer low rates for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year in this era of crowded aircraft, smaller seats and extra leg room charges? Common sense dictates that high prices are followed by high demand.

What can reluctant travelers do except drive or take the train to get to their destination? CNN asked flight specialists for best practices to alleviate the price pain.

Buy tickets soon

  If you fly on actual holidays, you can go through security much easier.

If you are flying on an actual holiday, you may experience much easier security.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

If you have not bought your airline tickets yet, it's time to buy them now.

"Holiday travelers should now make their plans and book flights for Thanksgiving and Christmas as early as Wednesday, September 25, to receive the best deals and availabilities," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA – The Auto Club Group, in a statement. "When travelers know when to book and what days they need to fly, they can effectively manage their budgets and avoid crowds."

Travelers booking between 28 and 60 days before Thanksgiving Week – between September 25 and October 27 – may receive a good price ($ 491 on average), according to AAA.

If you plan to arrive before the holidays, flying on Monday is the best option. It has the lowest average ticket price ($ 486) before the holiday.

In fact, flying on vacation offers the lowest average cost per ticket ($ 454), while Tuesday ($ 521) and Wednesday ($ 527) are expensive and the heaviest air travel days before vacation, AAA said , There is also the possibility that bad weather will ruin your holiday meal plans.

Christmas and New Year

A look at the background story of the Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol". CNN's Nick Glass reports.

Christmas and New Year are generally similar to Thanksgiving: high demand, high prices. Again, flying outside of peak hours is your friend.

While booking Thanksgiving travel, you can also book Christmas and New Year. According to AAA, bookings between September 26th and October 25th are best for flight bookings at Christmas, as prices are below average ($ 551) compared to previous bookings.

Travelers on Christmas Eve enjoy the lightest travel day of the year with the lowest average ticket prices ($ 527), according to AAA. This return or a new New Year's flight has been valid since December 26th the highest average ticket price of the week (692 USD).

Sign up for alerts

Exactly the same For the rest of the year, many fares range ahead of the holiday travel season, says Tracy Stewart, editor at Airfarewatchdog.com.

How do you know if the price of your route drops before it rises again? The site encourages travelers to sign up for rate notifications. You can find out about the general cost of your flights and receive an e-mail when rates fall.

"If you see a good rate, grab this one," says Stewart. "Our data clearly shows that you have to pay dearly if you wait until the last minute."

See Alternative Airports

  Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the largest city, but you have other options to consider when booking a flight.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the largest city, but you have other options to consider when booking a flight.

David McNew / Getty Images

The airport you use can make a difference in your spending.

Always look for optional airports – the New York / New Jersey area has five airports, Los Angeles too. [19659003] Houston and Chicago each have two. And remember to check Southwest.com in addition to Kayak or other search engines. (Not all airlines are on travel sites.)

On some overcompetitive routes (think of Chicago-New York) there will always be "a few scattered seats and flight times offered for sale" , he says.

Do not forget to count the fees

  Remember to include additional fees such as checked baggage when calculating travel expenses.

Don & # 39; When calculating your travel expenses, think of additional fees such as checked baggage.

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images Europe / Getty Images

Consider fees for luggage, extra legroom, and groceries before booking flights. Airline credit card holders may receive a checked bag and other perks for free.

Consider also the costs of ground transportation. Keep in mind that public trains often bring people to the cities faster than private cars (see Washington, Atlanta, San Francisco). The fees for Lyft and Uber may vary when you book them.

Impact of the 737 Max

The grounding of the Boeing 737 Max may not have much impact because these aircraft do not make up a large percentage of the global capacity. Hayley Berg, an economist for Hopper Travel Apps, says there may be less capacity and less competition from airlines on a particular route.

Further Advice

  Consider sending your gifts early instead of transporting them on the plane.

Remember to ship your gifts early rather than transport them on the plane.

Adam Berry / Getty Images Europe / Getty Images

Check Flight Status: It's easy enough to recharge your airline and airport apps for your trip. On some websites, you can detect and even rebook weather delays. (Have a telephone charger and an extra battery ready to call your airline.)

Insurance: Travel insurance is a good thing if you are worried about unpredictable winter weather or illness (read the fine print to see what's covered).

Early Birds: Delays are less likely in the early morning, but you also have more options if your early morning flight is canceled. You may miss your sleep getting up early, but you may also miss the crowds and misery.

Weekly Delay: Orbitz also points out that fares – along with the hotel room – often fall off a week after Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.

Gifts: If you fly to see the family, you can instead ship your gifts to get them on the plane. This saves hassle and fees. (You can even wrap it up with Granny.)

Go global: International fares can be a good deal for Americans at this time of year. If your family knows how to bring Christmas into spring, a holiday leave may be appropriate.

CNN's Forrest Brown has contributed to this article.


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