Advice For Holiday Travelers This Year: Buy Your Tickets Now

CNN’s Travel Companion suggests you start looking for Thanksgiving and Christmas tickets now, because airlines have cut capacity over last year, and the peak travel times for those two holidays are shorter this year than usual. The article also provide some tips for getting a good price: shop for single seats; aim for Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday flights; and if you can, try to fly on an actual holiday.

“Holiday travel 2010: ‘Early bird gets the worm'” [CNN]


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  1. DariusC says:

    In unrelated news, all major airlines increased their ticket costs yesterday to counter a mysterious uptick in sales!

    Seriously, they are probably going to raise prices with this news…

  2. BrianneG says:

    I’ve been shopping for christmas tickets for months. They are consistently $100 more per tickets than I usually pay from LA to Ohio. (about 30% more than normal) My family is just going to have to deal with us not being there if we can’t find tickets that are cheaper. My mom is already cool with it.

  3. Jevia says:

    I understand that most airlines block the week between Christmas and New Years for frequent flyer miles, yes?

    • humphrmi says:

      It depends. AA has an anytime reward level, which requires you to redeem more miles, that allows you to fly pretty much anytime. Each program has different rules. YMMV, but yes – I would not ever rely upon being able to fly during peak periods on miles.

      • Jevia says:

        I had a relative tell me “there were no seats available” between Christmas and New Years when she bought a ticket over a month ago to come visit us (so she’ll fly home after New Years instead). I couldn’t believe there were no seats left already, and figured it was because she wanted to use her FF miles to pay for the ticket rather than cash. Not that I mind too much, but making a 1 week trip into a 2 week trip without asking first seemed a bit presumptious to me.

    • Brink006 says:

      It depends. They’ll usually be blocked off until a few days before the flight. Then the airlines will sometimes open up those seats to mileage redemption. The Christmas flights can be some of the most empty planes you’ll ever see.

    • freelunch says:

      They often don’t block, but rather reduce the available number of seats for frequent flier point redemption… and since the the travel time is popular, people jump on any available flights very quickly and fill up the spots.

  4. Consumeristing says:

    Right. Prices can fall harder, same with housing. Go double-dip go!

  5. Big Mama Pain says:

    Last year I bought a ticket a week in advance, flew Xmas eve, and it was cheaper than flying that previous June. I just don’t believe there’s any trick to getting good prices, it’s so random. I wish they had a “the military sucks so I can’t plan anything far in advance” discount.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Where were you going? If it was a place that is popular for travel during the summer, that could be why.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Traveling on Christmas Day itself can be a better deal, if for no other reason that not having to deal with really big crowds.

  6. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    Don’t forget to check your itinerary on a regular basis for flight or aircraft changes, thus giving you ample time to fix schedules or seat assignments if necessary.

  7. Vogue007 says:

    When booking online clear your cookies and history each time you visit their site…companies will track what flights you are looking at and at what price so the next time you visit their site the price may go up. Also, the time at which you are looking can have an effect on the price. The best time to look is in the middle of the night because there are many less people booking at this time so you are more likely to get a lower price.

  8. Platypi {Redacted} says:

    Celebrate Christmas in January with your out of town family! Don’t play the game, the cost and crowds should be much easier to deal with, and you can buy your presents at the after Christmas sales!

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Except employers don’t give extras days off for Christmas when you choose to celebrate it in January. The reason why a lot of people have to wait until Christmas to see family is because their employers give a few extra days without dinging the employee’s personal time balance.

  9. shake1dde says:

    So glad I bought all the tickets for Christmas already. Paid about 250$ for round trip between dfw -> clt, and sure enough the price just shot up about 200$ per ticket! Pretty big savings when you’re talking about 6 tickets!

  10. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Is this why the dates are all blacked out? I can’t fly somewhere on Tuesday and come back Sunday. I don’t have that much personal time. :P No one does!


  11. Tim in Wyoming says:

    I shopped for a while, when my tickets fell below $300 each I booked instantly. I may loose my ass closer to Christmas, but those tickets were $100 less than what I have been seeing (still is) and that head-ache is gone!

  12. SG-Cleve says:

    If you fly on the actual holiday you’re going to get the greenest low-man-on-the-totem-pole pilot who is angry and bitter about having to work on the holiday.

  13. koalabare says:

    I just bought some tickets this evening, after taxes it was $200 total, roundtrip for 2 people. Granted this is a flight from one side of Washington to another, but I thought it was a great deal. Especially because it is Southwest so I won’t have to pay baggage fees.

  14. theblackdog says:

    I already did, but that’s because my free round-trip was about to expire.