Christmas Travel – What to Pay for Airline Tickets

If you plan to travel during the Christmas holidays, good news and bad news: Prices are higher this year, but not by much. On average, airfares have risen only about two percent. So what should you pay? I’ve got some answers.

Listen: FareCompare airfare analyst Rick Seaney offers money-saving and time-saving advice:

Tips for once a year travelers

What to Pay for Christmas Flights in the U.S.

To keep it simple, I’ve divided possible air routes by length of flight. Prices shown are what you can expect to pay now for flights from mid-December through the first week in January.

Cross-country flights: 5 to 6 hours long, non-stop

Example: New York – Los Angeles

  • Weekend flight: about $670
  • Weekday flights: about $560

Regional flights: 2 to 4 hours long, non-stop

Example:  Dallas – Washington, D.C.

  • Weekend flights: about $520
  • Weekday flights: about $350

Local flights: Under 2 hours, non-stop

Example: San Francisco – Los Angeles

  • Weekend flights: about $195
  • Weekday flights: about $115

Yes, you can pack everything you need in a carry-on

Travel Weekdays and Save

What jumps out at you is that it is cheaper to fly during the week – even though the weekends so beautifully ‘bookend’ this Wednesday holiday. If you can resist you’ll save. Another way to save: Fly on Christmas Day (Dec. 25). During most holiday periods, flying on the big day itself will almost always save you money.


Published: November 25, 2013