One of the biggest downsides of downsizing in the airline industry is that peak holiday airfares head into the stratosphere. Since 2005, the supply of airline seats flying around out there has declined about 10%. However, during holiday peaks, demand is the same or greater than before, which results in painful spikes in airfare.
Southwest and AirTran announced an interesting TWO DAY systemwide fare sale today, which offers nearly half off the going rate if you are willing to travel on the DAY of the holiday… i.e. Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
This sale fare applies to flights on Thanksgiving Day (Nov 22), Christmas Eve (Monday, Dec 24) and Christmas Day (Tuesday, Dec 25).
Take a look at Southwest and AirTran and see much you can save if you are willing to fly on off peak days around Thanksgiving. While Delta has not announced this sale, we found matching fares on routes where they compete with Southwest and AirTran.
Let’s say you get up early and fly to San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day, getting there just in time for the big feast (and then returning on the Tuesday after). The lowest fare right now is $366. But if you travel when everyone else wants to, such as the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after, you’ll pay dearly, with the current lowest fare at $619.
Same goes for flights from ATL to Boston. If you fly up on Thanksgiving morning, and fly back the following Tuesday, the lowest fare is $281.60. But if you fly on peak days such as the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after, the current lowest fare soars to $438.00.
(Note: These fares were searched Tues, 28 Aug and are subject to change)
Keep in mind that this sale is good today through Thursday only… so if you are mulling heading home for the holidays, it might be a good time to start checking fares and making decisions.
Another important note– for this post, I only researched NONSTOP flights– and I always suggest traveling non-stop during the winter holidays– it reduces the likelihood of delays and offers the maximum amount of time with family for the holidays. You will likely see nonstop fares rise significantly as we approach the holidays, while one-stop fares might be lower.
- Purchase from August 28 through August 30, 2012, 11:59 pm Pacific Time.
- Travel September 7 through February 13, 2013.
- Blackout Dates Apply: October 5, October 12, October 19, November 16-November 21, November 23-November 26, December 20-December 23, December 26-December 31, 2012, and January 1-January 2, 2013.
- Sale fares not valid for travel to New Orleans January 31-February 2 or February 6-February 9, 2013, nor from New Orleans February 4-February 5 or February 7-February 13, 2013.
- Travel valid every day except Sundays.
- Offer not available to/from Washington D.C. (Dulles); Key West, FL
What about you? Is it time to bite the bullet and commit to holiday travel plans? Given the strength of the summer travel season, I don’t expect to see many fare sales for the holidays this year…
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