Labor Day Weekend Travel Outlook: Finding Cheap Flights

Watch for traffic this Labor Day weekend! Of course, many travelers will be hitting the road including about 2 million in Southern California alone so be careful on those freeways, okay?

But if you’d rather fly, we’ve got good news. Keep reading.

LISTEN: Cool tips in Rick Seaney’s latest podcast.

Finding Cheap Flights for Labor Day

Finding cheap flights is a lot easier than it was, thanks to the onset of the post-summer deal zone. Fares always drop once kids go back to school and shoppers can find deals right now. However, there are a few things you should know:

  • Airline sales: Don’t delay if you want a deal; many airline sales expire Thursday, Sept. 3.
  • Deal blackout dates: Caution, some airline sales are not valid for travel on Sept. 7 – the actual date of Labor Day – so be prepared to fly before or after the holiday. However, there are exceptions especially in the weekend deals.
  • Weekend deals: Legacy carriers including American and United often feature weekend specials (to fill empty middle seats), and the Labor Day holiday weekend is no exception. Tickets must be booked by Friday, Sept. 4 and both airlines require departures either late Friday or Saturday. Return flights are on Monday or Tuesday only.

United’s Labor Day Deals, American’s Labor Day Deals

Tips for Easier Labor Day Travel

You’ll spend less time in the airport if you travel this way.

Join PreCheck: Shorter lines are yours if you sign up for the TSA’s PreCheck program. For $85 (for five years) you get dedicated fast lanes and you get to keep your shoes and jacket on. We think it’s a bargain.

Use a carry-on bag: No baggage check-in, and no waiting around at the luggage carousel. Even better, on most airlines carry-ons are free.

Whatever your plans, we hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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Updated: November 16, 2015