If you want to save any money on Christmas flights, you should be shopping now. We’ve just published our annual Holiday Flights Report, and to get the best prices you don’t want to wait to book that ticket.
Reasons not to Wait to Buy Your Christmas Flights This Year
Holiday flights are already more expensive than last year
Our report shows increases in airfare since last year. Holiday flight prices are up about 12% overall! Before you panic, keep in mind that the holidays are a busy time for flights and prices to tend to rise year after year.
Customer Demand for holiday flights is high
We know that Americans travel for Thanksgiving and Christmas, though not everyone takes a flight. Statistics vary, but most surveys say somewhere between 1 in 3 all the way to half of Americans plan to travel this year. That’s a lot of people. Some people will roadtrip, but others will hop a flight.
This increased demand means that there could be more people out there competing for flights. And that’s simple economics. Increased demand means increased prices.
Fuel costs cause holiday airfare prices to be higher than usual
This too, has been in the news. Fuel prices have spiked again in the last few months. But to be honest, this is more of a minor inconvenience to the airlines. Fuel prices are starting to go back down – but since public perception is that gas prices are high everywhere – it’s not much of an incentive for the airlines to drop prices.
The airlines are still recovering – and it hasn’t been pretty
Maybe you’ve seen the stories of airlines canceling massive numbers of flights over a holiday weekend and scratched your head. After all, shouldn’t an airline know far in advance of people showing up to the airport if they don’t have enough staff to fly multiple flights? Well – yes and no. Like a lot of logistical problems right now, it’s complicated.
You can think of the airlines as having their own flavor of supply chain problem right now. The commercial airlines laid off massive numbers of staff during the pandemic. And now that they need those bodies back in the air, a lot of them have moved on to other careers. Flight attendants are an easier position to fill, but you can’t just go out and round up a whole mess of pilots. A lot of pilots who were already aging out of the industry, took early retirement. And now, when a flight team gets sick (because, the pandemic is still out there folks), the airlines don’t have the extra staff to call up at a moment’s notice. It’s a problem and it won’t be fixed by Christmas.
This may not seem like a reason for you to buy your flight early. Heck, it really just sounds like a gamble to fly at all, right? But part of the capacity issues for the airlines is this steady increased demand from travelers. It may not seem like it, but they are trying to manage this issue. So when the airline already has fewer flights available, the flights they do have will be more expensive.
You can make flight changes for free except for Basic Economy
One more important thing to consider. The airlines mostly did away with change fees during the pandemic. This is key for travelers. You don’t need to feel that FOMO you used to feel, stressing about getting “the best” fare, as long as you don’t book a “Basic Economy” fare. The airlines have reinstituted change fees for those fares. You should be sure to read the fine print on a very cheap airfare so you know your rights.
Now, if you buy with CheapAir.com, we also protect your flight for free with Price Drop Payback. You can also buy earlier right now, knowing that if you did find some crazy good deal later, you’re not locked into the flight you purchased in July or August. And you won’t have to pay exorbitant fees to change it.
When all else fails, payment flexibility may help ease the pain of an expensive ticket. We offer monthly payments to make those larger flight and hotel costs more manageable. We cannot stress it enough. This year, start your flight shopping early. CheapAir.com offers a easy-to-understand search experience so you always can see everything included in the cost of a ticket. No surprises. Happy (early) holidays!