Book Thanksgiving, Christmas air travel now, experts say

If you haven’t booked your holiday travel plans for 2022, do so as soon as possible, say industry experts.

“Despite the chaos and cancellations this summer on nearly every major airline, now is still the best time to book a flight for your next vacation,” said Phil Dengler, co-founder of travel website The Vacationer. on FOX Business.

According to Dengler, the best time to book vacation travel is June and July, though it’s not too late to get a deal before prices go up. The sooner you book, the better chance you have of securing a nonstop early morning flight, Dengler said.

Travelers line up at a checkpoint in the main terminal at Denver International Airport on Thursday, May 26, 2022. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File/AP Newsroom)

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“Early morning flights are much less likely to be canceled than afternoon or evening flights,” Dengler explained. “Having an itinerary with one or more connections also increases the odds of cancellation or delay, so I always recommend booking non-stop flights.”

Booking early will also give you the chance to “save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars,” according to Dengler.

Clint Henderson, managing editor of travel website The Points Guy, agreed, saying consumers should already be setting up Google Flight Tracker price alerts for fall and holiday travel.

“Prices are down a quarter for domestic flights from peak summer prices according to travel booking website Hopper. The longer you wait to book those Christmas trips, the more likely you are to pay more,” he Henderson said.

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Security screening in the main terminal at Denver International Airport on August 24, 2021. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski/AP Newsroom)

However, with prices still high, Henderson recommends cashing in travel points that were saved during the coronavirus pandemic.

For Thanksgiving in particular, consumers should try to book by late August or early September at the latest. After Halloween, prices will “go up considerably,” according to Dengler.

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Starting Nov. 1, travelers should expect prices to rise 40 percent to an average of $400 for a round trip, Dengler added. During the week of Thanksgiving, consumers should expect an additional 25% increase, pushing prices to about $500 on average for a round trip.

Meanwhile, it estimates last-minute international fares booked during the week of Thanksgiving will average about $820, up 32% from before the price hike.

Travelers to TSA

Travelers go through security at the main terminal at Denver International Airport on Thursday, May 26, 2022. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File/AP Images)

At Christmas, the best time to book is anytime before the big turkey party. However, consumers should try to lock in rates in late August and early September.

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The best deals for domestic and international Christmas travel are in mid-September, about 90-100 days in advance. Dengler expects prices to rise 7% to $460 on average for a round trip two weeks before Christmas. During the week of the Christmas holiday, prices will increase another 11% to an average of $510 for a round trip

Ticker security last To change % change
AAL AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC. 14.17 -0.67 -4.51%
DAL DELTA AIR LINES INC. 33.25 -1.24 -3.60%
LOVE SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO. 37.88 -1.10 -2.82%
WELL UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS INC. 37.50 -1.56 -3.99%

Prices for international travel will begin to rise significantly around Thanksgiving, “so travelers should try to book Christmas flights by Thanksgiving at the latest to avoid the biggest price increases “, he noted.

It is estimated that the air fare will increase by 23% throughout December.

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However, consumers shouldn’t rush to book a hotel just yet, according to Henderson.

“If you need a hotel, you can probably wait a while to book them, as prices remain high in the hotel space at the moment,” he added.

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