Buy early, be flexible for best holiday airfare prices, expert says

Oct 18, 2007

Many people will be taking to the skies during the holidays, and though the festive season is weeks away, buying tickets soon is a traveler's best chance to get a good price, says a Purdue University aviation professor.

Dale Oderman, an associate professor of aviation technology, says airline ticket prices are about 3 percent to 7 percent higher this holiday season than last year, due mainly to higher fuel prices and reduced airline capacity.

Airline load factors - the percentage of available seats that are filled with paying passengers - are at an all-time high. Oderman says airlines are resistant to add more flights for fear that it could flood the market with open seats, forcing airlines to cut fares to fill them.

"Much of this season's price increase has to do with higher fuel prices, but it also has to do with supply and demand. The reduced number of available seats forces the price up," he says.

"These two factors are why it's important for travelers to book flights early if they have a particular time they want to travel. Booking earlier generally ensures a lower price, and those with flexible travel plans can often find cheaper fares if they can vary the day and/or time of their travel."

Oderman says comparing different days of the week, as well as alternate departure times during the day, can save travelers money. Those willing to take overnight flights or travel on the day of the holiday also can find good prices. Although Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are generally the cheapest days to fly, that's not always true around the holidays.

He says the following dates are predicted to be the highest-priced travel dates:

* Nov. 16-18 and 25 (the Friday-Sunday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving).

* Dec. 20-22 and 30, and Jan. 4-6.

He says the least expensive days to fly are predicted to be:

* Nov. 19, 22, 23 and 27 (Thanksgiving Day is Nov. 22).

* Anytime in December before Dec. 19, Dec. 24-28 and Dec. 31.

Oderman says during any time of the year, it's a good idea to shop around for the best ticket prices and to check out airline Web sites and discount travel sites such as Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz.

Source: Purdue University

Explore further: Best of Last Week - Zero friction quantum engine, twisted radio beams and Ebola outbreak update

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Idealistic Norwegian sun trappers

Sep 19, 2014

The typical Norwegian owner of a solar heating system is a resourceful man in his mid-fifties. He is technically skilled, interested in energy systems, and wants to save money and protect the environment.

Coal gas boom in China holds climate change risks

Aug 22, 2014

Deep in the hilly grasslands of remote Inner Mongolia, twin smoke stacks rise more than 200 feet into the sky, their steam and sulfur billowing over herds of sheep and cattle. Both day and night, the rumble ...

Restaurants experimenting with pay-in-advance tickets

Aug 20, 2014

With restaurant patrons increasingly jumping on the Internet to make reservations, some high-end eateries here and across the country are adding a new tech wrinkle: having their clientele pay for their meal in advance using ...

Why yellow-bellied marmots thrive in urban setting

Aug 08, 2014

Elizabeth Addis, assistant professor of biology at Gonzaga University, and three senior biology majors are spending this summer researching why the local population of yellow-bellied marmots – those gregarious, ...

Recommended for you

Ig Nobel winner: Using pork to stop nosebleeds

Sep 19, 2014

There's some truth to the effectiveness of folk remedies and old wives' tales when it comes to serious medical issues, according to findings by a team from Detroit Medical Center.

History books spark latest Texas classroom battle

Sep 16, 2014

As Texas mulls new history textbooks for its 5-plus million public school students, some academics are decrying lessons they say exaggerate the influence of Christian values on America's Founding Fathers.

Flatow, 'Science Friday' settle claims over grant

Sep 16, 2014

Federal prosecutors say radio host Ira Flatow and his "Science Friday" show that airs on many National Public Radio stations have settled civil claims that they misused money from a nearly $1 million federal ...

User comments : 0