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How To Shop For Your Holiday Air Travel

This blog post was updated on July 29, 2021.

It might seem like summer has just ended, but travelers have to start getting serious about their holiday air travel. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s are not only some of the most popular times to fly but they can also be the most miserable and challenging flights to shop for if you want a good price, seat, flight date and time. And as you should be starting to book those flights, here are a few steps to take to ensure you go about shopping for holiday air travel on the right flight path.

Don’t Delay: Procrastinators can’t afford to put off booking their holiday air travel. Airfare is usually at its lowest between September and mid October for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. While you might hope that the rate will get better with time, most likely prices will only escalate and ideal flight times will be a distant memory. Even if you aren’t ready to shop just yet, you should at least set up email alerts so that you can purchase when you see the price drop.

Adjust Your Great Date Expectations: Most travelers want to flight out to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving on Wednesday after work. If you want to fly on the peak holiday travel days, you are going to pay for it. When you begin shopping for holiday air travel, you need to adjust your great date expectations if you want a better deal and maybe even something other than a middle seat on a packed flight. If you have more flexibility with your dates, you tend to find better deals on holiday air travel.

Always Aim For Non-Stop Flights: If you can take a non-stop flight for the holidays, you should. The holidays often translate into delays over bad weather, which can mix up connections in an instant. For travelers buying their holiday air travel, you should try to avoid connecting flights and pay a bit more for non-stop flights if you can. Non stop flights are less likely to be problematic when you can’t afford problems at the holidays.

Consider Upgrades Now: That extra bit of legroom or maybe even a meal on your red eye flight could be virtually non-existent if you try to upgrade closer to your flight. The holidays aren’t always the best of times to be flying with all of the crowded planes. If you are buying your flight now, you might want to pay a bit more to be bumped up to a better seat with more services. Travelers could be less inclined to spring for this extravagance closer to the holidays when they are more cash strapped from holiday shopping. You’ll be glad you upgraded your seat back in September and paid for it then too rather than when finances are a bit tighter in December.

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