How Much Will You Pay to Fly at Thanksgiving?

When is the Best Time to Buy Your Ticket?

If you wait until the end of October to buy your plane ticket, you may see prices spike. Here are 5 tips:

  1. Beginning next week, you should add $5.00 (round-trip) to your Thanksgiving ticket price each day you procrastinate. Once we hit the last week in October, add $5.00 (round-trip) to your Christmas ticket each day you procrastinate.
  2. Avoid the busiest travel days on at least half of your trip. The good news is that airlines are telling you through their surcharges which days to avoid.
  3. Fees can be good this time of year. For instance, “cut in line” fees like Southwest’s EarlyBird Check-In will ensure you have the opportunity to pack those overly-stuffed carry-on bags in the overhead bins.
  4. Be a Boy Scout: Prepare for the worst – delays, slowdowns airport waits, etc.
  5. Use technology – setup flight status alerts for you and your family members so they don’t head to the airport in inclement weather if your flight is delayed or cancelled.

Listen as FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney talks turkey with editor Anne McDermott on how to find the best fares for Thanksgiving:

The following graph represents the average difference in lowest published fare from the top 50 cities in the US/CA (to each other) for travel the week of Thanksgiving. The bottom line is: airfare is averaging about $40 more than last year at the same time.

Lowest Published fare from Top 50 Cities in the US/CA (to each other) Thanksgiving Week

Airline  2010 Average Fare  2011 Average Fare   Difference
American  $       323.74  $       363.86  $           40.11
Alaska  $       458.42  $       484.49  $           26.06
JetBlue  $       273.27  $       318.89  $           45.62
Continental  $       329.38  $       354.49  $           25.11
Delta  $       313.71  $       344.49  $           30.78
Frontier  $       252.22  $       258.71  $             6.49
Airtran  $       236.62  $       264.23  $           27.61
Spirit  $       252.86  $       305.77  $           52.91
United  $       330.64  $       349.83  $           19.19
US Airways  $       311.49  $       336.87  $           25.39
Southwest  $       265.06  $       266.05  $             0.99

 

 

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Published: October 3, 2011