Book Before Labor Day for the Best Deal on Thanksgiving Flights

Consider yourself a procrastinator? Well, booking Thanksgiving flights is certainly NOT the task to put off, because if you book your flights early, you can save as much as $200!

Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year, and in addition to long security lines are high airfare prices. We asked our Chief Scientist, Chris Slowe, when are the best times to book Thanksgiving airfare and discovered that the weeks leading up to Labor Day are when you should book your ticket.

Here’s a look at the number crunching we did: Using historical flight search data, our Chief Scientist saw that Thanksgiving airfare prices are already up almost 10% over the same time last year. The data shows that the longer you wait to book your holiday travel, the more you can end up paying. Airfare for Thanksgiving 2012 travel (November 21-25) increased exponentially as the holiday approached with travelers who waited just one month after Labor Day to book paid on average $502.77 – a 35% price increase; those who booked just weeks prior to Thanksgiving, found themselves paying almost 60% more. The following illustration shows the average price increases based on 2012 data:

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Our advice is… avoid procrastinating and book your flights ASAP! If you wait until the week before Thanksgiving to book, it can cost you more than $200 per ticket!

“Every year, the holidays sneak up on us. Travelers are left scrambling for last-minute tickets, which can be expensive and have inconvenient departure times, arrival times, or unwanted layovers,” said Dr. Chris Slowe,  our Chief Scientist. “By booking early, travelers can save themselves the headache and find more affordable and convenient options for their holiday travel.”

To help you make the most of your Thanksgiving trip, here are some additional tips:

  • Avoid traveling on the busiest days. Avoid travel on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving or the Sunday after. You’ll miss the crowds at the airport and save money. Try flying in Monday or Tuesday for a cheaper flight and more time with the family.

  • Find a place to stay for the whole family. Since many travelers stay with family over the holidays, it’s a great time to find hotel deals. Alternatively, families can forgo the hassle of booking a hotel and opt for flexible travel accommodations with rentals through Airbnb and HomeAway.

  • Take the train.  If you’re traveling a short distance, consider taking Amtrak between cities to further lower costs and avoid crowded airports and long security lines. We display Amtrak in-line with flights so you always see the best and most affordable options.

  • Embrace the experience. If flying isn’t in the plans this year, take time to explore your hometown, city, or surrounding area. Chase an adventure, go on a road trip or score a last-minute hotel deal with our Tonight Only mobile feature during a spontaneous trip or staycation.

So don’t delay – book your Thanksgiving flights T O D A Y!

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