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Winter Vacation Flights 2019: Thanksgiving Tips and Christmas Reservations



(CNN) – While travel tips abound for the best times to buy the most affordable holiday plane tickets, it's hard to escape the reality: Flying through some of the busiest travel times of the year will usually not be cheap.

In this era of packed airplanes, smaller seats and fees for an extra leg room, what airline will offer cheap Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's rates? The common sense of the business dictates that high prices will follow high demand.

What should delayed passengers do other than drive or take the train to reach their destinations?

Buy your tickets soon

  If you are flying on real holidays, you can have a much easier time going through security.

If you are flying on real holidays, you can have a much easier time going through security.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

If you haven't purchased your airline tickets yet, it's time to buy now.

"Vacationers need to make their plans now and start booking flights for Thanksgiving and Christmas as early as Wednesday, September 25, for the best deals and availability," says Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman – The Auto Club Group, in a statement. "Knowing when to book and what days to fly can help travelers effectively manage their budget and avoid the crowd."

Travelers who book between 28 and 60 days before Thanksgiving – that's between September 25 and 27 October – May get a good price ($ 491 average), according to AAA.

If you want to arrive before the holiday, Monday's flight is the best choice. It has the lowest average ticket price ($ 486) before the holiday.

In fact, flying on vacation offers the lowest average ticket price ($ 454), while Tuesday ($ 521) and Wednesday ($ 527) are expensive and the toughest days to travel with an airplane, says AAA. The bad weather is also likely to ruin your holiday meal plans.

Christmas and New Year's

A look at the background of Charles Dickens' classic "Christmas Wheel." CNN's NN Glass reports.

Overall, Christmas and New Year's Eve functions are much like Thanksgiving: high demand, high prices. Again, flying out of peak is your friend.

While booking Thanksgiving trips, you can also book for Christmas and New Year. AAA says the booking between September 26 and October 25 is best suited for Christmas reservations with lower than average prices ($ 551) compared to earlier reservations.

Travelers who fly on Christmas Eve enjoy the lightest day of the year, with the lowest average ticket prices ($ 527), says AAA.

But you better shop carefully for this return or new flight for the New Year, as December 26th has the highest average ticket price of the week ($ 692).

Sign up for alerts

Just like the rest of the year, many rates fluctuate during the holiday travel season, says Tracy Stewart, editor of the deals site with Airfarewatchdog.com airfare.

How do you know if the cost of your route will go down before you go up again? The site recommends travelers sign up for fare alerts. You can get an education on the total cost of your flights and you will receive an email when fares drop.

"If you see a good rate, go over it," Stewart says. "The only thing our data clearly shows is that if you wait until the last minute you will pay dearly."

Look at alternative airports

  Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the most the largest city, but you have other options to consider when booking a flight.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the largest in the city, but you have other options to consider when booking a flight.

David McNew / Getty Images

The airport you use can affect how much you spend.

Always look at the airports of your choice – the New York / New Jersey area has five airports, as well as Los Angeles. [19659003] Houston and Chicago each have two. And be sure to check out Southwest.com in addition to kayaking or other search engines. (Not all airlines are travel sites.)

In some super-competitive routes (think Chicago-New York), there will always be "a few scattered seats and flight times that will continue to sell" . he says.

Remember to count the fees

  Remember to think of extra fees, such as checked bags, when calculating your travel expenses.

Don & # 39; be sure to think of extra fees, such as checked bags, when calculating your travel expenses.

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images Europe / Getty Images

Be sure to consider baggage fees, extra fees in the leg room and the purchase of food before booking flights, airline credit card holders can get free check and other bonuses.

Remember to also take into account the cost of land transportation, noting that public trains often bring people faster to cities than private cars (think Washington, Atlanta, San Francisco), and Elevator and Uber fees may vary depending on when you book them.

Impact of the 737 Max

The grounding of the Boeing 737 Max may not have a huge impact, as these aircraft do not represent a huge percentage of global capacity. But hopper travel economist Haley Berg says there may be less capacity and therefore less competition for the carrier on a particular route.

Other Tips

  Consider delivering your gifts early instead of carrying them

Consider delivering your gifts earlier rather than carrying them on the plane.

Adam Berry / Getty Images Europe / Getty Images

Check flight status: It's easy enough to load your airline and airport applications for your trip. You can notice time delays and even rewrite on some sites. (Keep a phone charger and extra battery pack handy to call your airline.)

Insurance: Travel insurance is a good deal if you're worried about unpredictable winter weather or illness (read the fine print to see what's covered).

Early birds: Delays are less early in the morning, but you also have more options if your early morning flight is canceled. You may miss your dream of getting up early, but you may also miss the crowds and misery.

Week Delay: Orbitz also states that rates – along with hotel rooms – often drop many weeks after Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.

Gifts: If you fly to see the family, you can send your gifts instead of taking them out on the plane. This saves hassles and fees. (You can even wrap them in Grandma's house.)

Worldwide: International airline tickets can be a good deal for Americans this time of year. So if your family knows about pushing Christmas to spring, then maybe a holiday break is in order.

CNN's Forrest Brown contributed to this article.


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