Memorial Day Weekend is Closer than You Think – How to Save on Flights

We’re so lucky. Airfare analyst and FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney is always thinking of ways to save us money. Recently, his thoughts turned toward Memorial Day weekend.

LISTEN: Rick Seaney’s vacation to-do list.

Memorial Day – Monday, May 26

“Most of us don’t like dipping into our vacation days if we can avoid it,” said Seaney, “so when it comes to a Memorial Day weekend getaway, we try to leave late on Friday [May 23] and return late on Monday [May 26]. The problem is the airlines know this and raise their prices accordingly.”

How to Save 25% on Airfare

Seaney says breaking away from that mind-set will save money. His suggestion:

  • Depart early Saturday (May 24)
  • Return Tuesday (May 27) or even late Monday (May 26)

Follow this advice, says Seaney and you’ll save about 25 percent off the cost of the expensive Friday/Monday flights.

If a Saturday departure seems late, Seaney reminds us that if flying westward, it’s really not so bad. “If you are heading west, remember that for every hour your flight lasts, time zone changes wipe some of those hours away.”  Some examples from the American Airlines schedule:

  • Six hour flight: Depart New York at 7 a.m. – Arrive in Los Angeles at 10 a.m.
  • Three hour flight: Depart Dallas at 2 p.m. – Arrive in Los Angeles a little after 3 p.m.

Purchase Airfare by Mid-April

“You should start kicking the tires on price quotes right now,” said Seaney, adding that you’ll save if you purchase tickets no later than mid-April. In other words, you’ve still got a few weeks, but now is the time to start making plans.


Published: March 11, 2014