Airlines Add Holiday Surcharges to Thanksgiving, Christmas Airfare

If you’re heading home for the holidays, or taking a domestic flight anywhere this Thanksgiving or Christmas, there will be new surcharges added to your airfare if you fly certain airlines on the most popular holiday travel dates. In other words, finding cheap flights for the holidays is hard enough, and it just got a little bit harder.

Since I first broke the news about these 2011 holiday surcharges, the topic has been getting a lot of buzz but so far there are no more airlines and/or surcharges to add to the list (at least not yet). More good news: I have confirmed with Southwest’s people that the discount carrier has no plans to add any holiday surcharges this year.

See How Much Surcharges will Cost You

This year, surcharges have been added to airfare by all four of the legacy carriers which include American, Delta, United/Continental and US Airways. So far, none have been added by what we call the “low cost carriers” but that could change. I reviewed the most common domestic surcharge rule on our enormous database of airfares, and now I’ll share what I discovered.

Read the How to Find the Best Priced Airfares for the Holidays

Holiday Airfare Surcharges: American, Delta, United/Continental

Reminder: this year Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, Nov. 24.

Thanksgiving Holiday

  • Sunday, Nov. 27: $40
  • Monday, Nov. 28: $20

Christmas Holiday

This year, Christmas Day is Sunday, Dec. 25 and New Year’s Eve is Saturday, Dec. 31.

  • Thursday, Dec. 22: $10
  • Friday, Dec.23: $20
  • Monday, Dec. 26: $30
  • Monday, Jan. 2: $30

Holiday Airfare Surcharges: US Airways

Notice how much more aggressive US Airways is in applying these holiday surcharges, with heftier price tags, too.

Thanksgiving Holiday

  • Friday, Nov. 18: $20
  • Saturday, Nov. 19: $10
  • Wednesday, Nov. 23: $10
  • Saturday, Nov. 26: $30
  • Sunday, Nov. 27: $50
  • Monday, Nov. 28: $30

Christmas Holiday

  • Friday, Dec. 16: $10
  • Dec. 17-22: $20
  • Friday, Dec. 23: $50
  • Dec. 27-29: $20
  • Friday, Dec. 30: $30
  • Saturday, Dec. 31: $20

A question for my readers: have you started shopping for your holiday airfare yet?

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Published: September 16, 2011