Some of you know the answer to this question (you do if you read my latest Airfare Expert column for USA Today): What are the two days of the year U.S. travelers should never, ever fly?
Don’t Fly These Days
And the answer is:
- Wednesday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 26)
- Sunday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 30)
The explanation is very simple: These are the two most expensive days of the year to fly, and the reason for that is they’re the two most popular days of the year to fly.
Avoid the Traditional Thanksgiving Itinerary
Face it, Thanksgiving – which falls on Nov. 27 this year – is little more than a long weekend. Most of us want to get the biggest bang for our buck without infringing on work (after all, Christmas is coming and we may need a day off then). So, we fly Wednesday to Sunday.
Bad idea. At least if you want to save money. By avoiding both of these popular days, you can save from 30% to 50% off a round-trip ticket. Here’s an example found late last week for a cross-country flight.
- Fly Wednesday to Sunday, pay $550
- Fly Tuesday to Saturday, pay $354
In this case, it’s an easy way to save – simply move flights back a single day each-way. Caution: A Tuesday/Saturday itinerary may not be best for all routes so you have to be flexible and experiment a bit.
Cheapest Day to Fly at Thanksgiving
The cheapest day of all to fly? Thanksgiving Day. Don’t say “No way!” immediately; see how much you can save by arriving late Thanksgiving morning or in time for the afternoon food and football festivities. It just might be worth it.