If this summer’s soaring airfare prices have taught travelers anything, it should be the wisdom of booking your flights well ahead of time.
With airlines caught ill-prepared to accommodate the number of travelers who want to fly right now, demand still outpaces supply. This, combined with the record-high cost of fuel, pushed airfare pricing sky-high pretty rapidly in 2022.
And, those higher rates aren’t coming down anytime soon, it seems. According to Cheapair.com’s 2022 Holiday Flight Report, Thanksgiving airfares are trending 25 percent higher than last year, while Christmas and New Year’s flights are up 28 percent over 2021.
While we’re still in the throes of the bustling summer travel season, it’s time to start thinking about your autumn and winter plans, and snagging the flights you’ll need when the busy holiday season rolls around.
That’s because booking months in advance will yield the best prices and most desirable options, Phil Dengler, co-owner of travel resource site The Vacationer, told TravelPulse. He explained that the best times to book holiday-season flights are actually in June or July. This year, in particular, it would’ve behooved you to book those plane tickets extra early—say, in May or June— but there’s still time to find a good deal.
Dengler said he sees Halloween as the cutoff date for being able to find Thanksgiving flights at a reasonable cost, but that travelers should aim to secure their plane tickets by late August or early September.
You should have those Christmas flights booked before Thanksgiving, he said, although the best deals are to be found between now and Halloween. Travelers should aim to have their flights for the end-of-year holidays booked by late August or early September.
When considering what might be the best dates for air travel over the holiday period, Dengler also had some advice. Below are his predictions on how the season will play out.
Best/Worst Days to Fly for Thanksgiving Travel
The busiest travel days for Thanksgiving will be the following:
– Wednesday, November 23
– Sunday, November 27
For cheaper flights and less hassle, consider traveling on these dates:
– Sunday, November 20
– Monday, November 21
– Tuesday, November 22
– Thursday, November 24 (Thanksgiving Day flights are cheap)
Consider coming home on these dates:
– Friday, November 25 (Black Friday flights are generally cheap)
– Monday, November 28
– Tuesday, November 29
Best/Worst Days to Fly for Christmas Travel
The busiest travel days for Christmas vary each year, since it does not always fall on the same day of the week. For 2022, expect these to be the busiest travel days:
– Thursday, December 22
– Friday, December 23
– Monday, December 26
– Tuesday, December 27
For cheaper rates, consider booking a flight that departs a few days before December 23. Here are the best dates to fly out:
– Sunday, December 18
– Monday, December 19
– Saturday, December 24 (Christmas Eve flights are generally cheap)
– Sunday, December 25 (Christmas Day flights are generally cheap)
Consider flying back home on these dates to avoid the return travel rush on December 26 and December 27:
– Wednesday, December 28
– Thursday, December 29
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