The 'ideal booking window' for holiday airfare is closing, economist says. 'Travelers are going to miss out'


After April, holiday airfares are usually cheaper and volatile. Prices then remain constant until the “ideal booking period” of four weeks from mid-September to middle-October. “We’re at the end of

now,” said Berg.

Domestic round-trip airfare for Thanksgiving is still around $268 on average, which is what they were about three weeks ago. For Christmas, domestic round-trip flights are still hovering at $400 on average, per Hopper data.

However, after about October 14, prices are likely to consistently get more expensive and travelers will have a more challenging time finding the best deals.[that period]”After this weekend, we’ll see a lot of volatility continue but, on average, prices are going to go up,” said Berg.

While there may be some deals available through the end of October, don’t wait it out if you have set travel dates in mind between commitments such as school or work.

Each day you wait, you could see prices increase. Hopper expects prices to spike about $30 a day for Thanksgiving fares at the last three weeks before the holiday.

“Each day you wait at the last minute for Thanksgiving, you’re adding a significant amount of cost,” said Berg.

In the last few days before Christmas, travelers could see price jumps of about $40 a day, Hopper anticipates.

Air travel passenger picked up at airport during holiday season.

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Secure your flight and confirm your seating

Most flights are not entirely sold out — yet. If you don’t buy holiday airfares early, many of the nonstop flights, the best times of day, and the most popular dates may be gone. Ayoola said that those who want to avoid summer heat and crowds may plan to travel over the holidays. This will drive up prices. You’re two times more likely to be affected by flight delays or cancellations after 8:00 a.m., Berg said.

While non-stop flights are often more expensive, they can help travelers bypass the risk of missing connections due to a flight disruption.

Weather and air traffic disruptions last year caused a lot of turmoil for holiday travelers. Given the demand for holiday flights, it’s worth planning with the potential for such delays or cancellations in mind.

Holiday travel numbers are expected to resemble or surpass results from 2019, wrote Phil Dengler, co-founder and head of editorial and marketing of travel site The Vacationer.

Travelers might also look into travel insurance, and brushing up on your rights if your travel plans are interrupted.

While picking your seat can come at an additional cost with most airlines, “ensure you have a seat on your desired flight,” Berg said. While choosing your seat can be an extra cost with most airlines, Berg said that it is worth the money to ensure you have a seat on your desired flight.