*OFFLINE* Priceline.com Predicts Best Days To Fly For Thanksgiving & Christmas 2011
Airline flight cuts expected to drive higher prices, limited availability
Airfares for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays are the highest they’ve been in years, but careful shoppers can still find affordable tickets home for the holidays, according to Priceline.com’s Travel Ekspert, Brian Ek.
As of November 1, the national average for Thanksgiving airfares was $407, up 6% over last year. The national average for Christmas airfares was $451, up 3% over last year. Priceline calculated the average airfares for both holidays based on published price airline tickets booked by its customers.
“2011 holiday airfares are among the highest we’ve seen in the last decade,” said Ek. “The fares rise may have been influenced by 2% to 5% flight reductions by several major airlines for the 4th quarter and holiday period. Travelers who comparison-shop different travel dates and times around the holidays still should be able to find cheaper fares.”
To help travelers get the best available travel deals, priceline.com has created a web page http://pcln.com/bestdays. The page contains an interactive and frequently updated Best Days To Fly calendar and hotel deals from around the country.
According to Priceline’s Best Days To Fly Calendar for the holidays:
• The most affordable days to fly over the Thanksgiving holiday are November 19, 20, 21, 22, 24 (Thanksgiving Day), 25, 29 and 30.
• The most affordable days to fly over the Christmas holiday are December 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 27, 28 and 31.
Ek also had some additional tips to help find cheaper airfare and keep those travel costs down after the airfare is booked.
• Pick times of the day that are normally less busy. Time of day is important. Travelers will find the most affordable seats departing early in the morning (5-7 a.m.) or late evening (after 8 p.m.). Mid-day (11 a.m. – 4 p.m.) is a bit more expensive, but still reasonable. Most expensive are the peak business travel hours (8-10 a.m. and 5-7 p.m.).
• Try priceline.com’s Name Your Own Price® airline tickets service. You can save even more on your airline tickets by using priceline.com’s Name Your Own Price® ticketing service. Visit www.priceline.com/flights and click on the link to use the service. For help in deciding when to fly or how to bid for maximum savings, check out priceline.com’s Inside Track www.priceline.com/insidetrack.
• Send those presents on ahead. You see presents; the airlines see extra baggage and maybe some extra fees. Not to mention how unhappy the security screeners will be to see those wrapped boxes. Save yourself the hassle by mailing or shipping presents in advance (after you’ve wrapped them, of course).
• Weigh and measure your baggage. Check your airline’s maximum requirements for checked and carry-on bags to make sure you won’t incur extra fees. Fees can be up to $38 for the first bag and $45 for the second. Note: baggage fees are charged separately for your outbound and return flights.