Sure, Thanksgiving – Nov. 23 – is still months away, but it might as well be tomorrow as far as the airlines are concerned. Some carriers are already raising prices for certain itineraries and more hikes are coming. If you want to go to Grandma’s without paying more than you have to, the time to act is now.
Most expensive days to fly
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 22) and the Sunday after (Nov. 26): Avoid flying on these days if at all possible because they are the busiest travel dates and most expensive. Many fly these days because it means not having to sacrifice vacation time, but you often pay for this convenience with horrendously expensive tickets.
If you must fly Wednesday-Sunday, book tickets now. The price of this itinerary has been rising since late August and is currently increasing on average by $1.50 a day, which jumps to about $2.50 a day in October. That may not sound like much but procrastinators could end up paying an extra $200 or more per ticket that could have been avoided.
Cheaper days to fly
A cheaper itinerary would be the Tuesday before (Nov. 21) and the Monday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 27). If you don’t have to worry about school or work schedules, try flying the Saturday before (Nov. 18) to the Monday after (Nov. 27) and you may see exceptional savings.
Cheapest day to fly
Thanksgiving Day is almost always the cheapest day to fly for the Turkey Day holiday. Here’s an example for flights between Detroit and Nashville:
- Fly Wed.-Sun. (Nov. 22-26), $469
- Fly Thurs.-Sat. (Nov. 23-25), $193
When possible, move dates around to find a combination that works best for you but always compare airfares; at Thanksgiving time (or any time), you cannot count on a single airline to always have the best deal. Or better yet, have your travel agent do the work!