Naughty & Nice List: Rising and Falling Airfare Prices for Christmas

Want to see if you’re saving money on your Christmas flight home this year? We’ve got a list of winning routes and a list where ticket prices have jumped since 2014. The Naughty & Nice list applies to U.S. cities but we have cheaper destinations for international travelers as well, so keep reading!

LISTEN: Rick Seaney was a little bit surprised by the list.

U.S. Naughty & Nice Lists

Prices are average-low airfares for specific U.S. routes (nonstops and connecting flights) in 2014 and 2015.

Disclaimer: While averages can show trends, prices may not apply to your particular situation due to variables such as when you shopped, is your flight a nonstop, and more. Prices were found using FareCompare data in late October for departures just before Christmas, with returns a few days later.

Cities on the Naughty & Nice Christmas List

Naughty & Nice List
Naughty & Nice List

Cheaper International Cities

Airfare prices for European cities go up and down, with one exception: Dublin, Ireland almost always tops the list of cheaper destinations and this is true today (particularly for transatlantic flights).

Other good value cities: Scandinavia, especially Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm. Credit the cheap deals from discount carriers such as Norwegian Air and Wow.

Two ways to find more good deals to cities around the world every time you shop:

  • Compare airfares: It’s the only way to be sure of finding the cheapest flight available, and do it every time you shop.
  • Set airfare alerts: When a cheap fare appears, you’ll know immediately. If you like it, hurry; cheap tickets go fast.

More Ways to Save

If you’ve already bought your ticket, good for you; in many cases, airfare for late December is only going to increase. But there are still a few ways to save.

Use a carry-on: Most airlines don’t charge a fee for carry-ons but if you fly Allegiant, Frontier or Spirit or many of the international discount carriers, you’ll find they charge for all bags and  many raise fees for holiday travel periods.

Packing tip: A very small bag that fits under the seat is generally free on all airlines and the sit & zip packing method can help you fill small bags with all you need.

Bring a water bottle from home: Don’t dump perfectly good water at security because you forgot, but do bring an empty bottle from home because many airports now have water-refill stations.

Bring a snack: It’s cheaper than airline and airport food and tastes so much better.


Updated: November 13, 2015