Do I Need to Alter my Flight Plans During the Holidays?

The holidays are the busiest time of the year for air travel. The days just before and after both Thanksgiving and Christmas are the busiest times of years for airlines. People all over the country are scrambling to book their flights and make travel preparations in order to see friends and family. Naturally, this means that the airports and flights are going to be packed with people.

The lines will be long for boarding and security checks. Because of the delays and high traffic at the airports, you may ask yourself if you need to alter your flight plans during the holidays?

Answer: If you book too close to a holiday, changing your flight plan is a good idea

One of the most important factors travelers consider when flying, especially during the holidays is the price. If you plan to travel during the Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year holidays you can expect to pay top dollar. If you push your schedule around a few days you can see savings of hundreds of dollars.

If you don’t want to risk the possibility of canceled flights and packed airports with people camping out as a result of crowding and issues resulting from traffic, then you definitely should consider waiting until the crowds have cleared. If you must travel the day before or after a holiday, be prepared for anything and waiting for several hours at each leg of the flight. If you haven’t booked a non-stop flight, then you may want to reconsider your route and spend the extra money to avoid the possibility of delays at more than one stop.

Major travel booking sites recommend you book your flight four weeks out to see the best potential for savings with the exception of Christmas which is three weeks out. In addition to the time frame, the day of the week you choose to book your flight will affect the price of your ticket. Major travel sites also advise you book your flights on a Wednesday or a Thursday for the best deals. When shopping for tickets around Christmas, Thursday is the best day to book your flight for the best savings. You could always try to get a last minute flight for a steal, but you run the risk of not finding a seat on any flights.

Additional Resources

This information is a basic guide to help you understand the challenges airline passengers face when scheduling flights around key holidays. Check out these resources for more in-depth details to help you arrive at a good decision about your travel plans.

  1. Smarter Travel - Smarter Travel is an online publication that features valuable information and tips to help travelers find better deals and make getting to their destination easier. This article focuses on holiday travel and provide some tips on making it easier. 
  2. Travel Channel - This cable channel has been providing information and entertainment about travel for years. Their website is also filled with great information about traveling. This article in particular offers advice about holiday travel. 
  3. CNBC - CNBC is one of the most trusted sources of news in the country. This article takes a more data driven look at holiday travel. It examins popular locations and the methods that many people are using to actually pay for their holiday vacations. 

Questions to Consider