5 Best Tips to Find Cheap Flights for Thanksgiving

While truly cheap flights will be difficult to find, following these tips will guide you to the best available prices. At holiday time – that’s the name of the game. All you need is a little flexibility, and the willingness to act now.

5 Best Tips for Cheap Flights at Thanksgiving

Follow as many of these guidelines as possible; the more tips you try, the more you’re likely to save.

1.) Shop now. The longer you delay, the more prices will go up. In years past, procrastinators could score great last minute deals, but we do not expect that will happen this year. In fact, due to airline capacity cuts, wait too long and you may not get a seat at all.

Listen to FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney talk about more ways to save on holiday flights

2.) Know the cheapest travel dates. Avoid flying on the Sunday after Thanksgiving which is generally the most expensive day of the entire year to fly. Among the cheaper dates to fly:

  • Monday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 21)
  • Friday, Saturday and Tuesday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 25, 26 and 29)

The cheapest day to fly over the entire Thanksgiving season?

  • Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24).

Fly early and you won’t miss any of the turkey and pumpkin pie. Plus, the airports will be nearly empty and security will be a breeze.

3.) Know the holiday surcharge dates. Check FareCompare’s list of airlines and holiday surcharge dates. You’ll see how flying certain airlines on certain dates can add as much as $100 to your round-trip airfare. Why pay this extra money?

4.) Fly cheap airports and routes. Compare prices from your hometown airport and a bigger airport nearby; chances are the money you save will be worth the extra drive time. Then compare non-stop flights with connecting flights; again, you can save money by foregoing the convenience of a direct route.

5.) Avoid unnecessary fees/costs. Thanksgiving is a short holiday which makes it ideal for using a carryon bag and avoiding the $50 round-trip checked-baggage fee. If you must bring a big suitcase, fly JetBlue or Southwest for the free checked-bags. And avoid parking fees and taxi fares by using public transportation, but don’t wait until the last minute to investigate any bus or shuttle options.

Warning: If you plan to bring gifts to the Thanksgiving Day feast such as homemade jams or a bottle of wine, remember that these items are not allowed through TSA security checkpoints. You’re better off shipping them ahead of time or buying gifts on arrival.


Published: September 19, 2011