Our Holiday Flight Index reached a record high this morning, which certainly isn’t anything to get excited about. The index, which measures average air fares for flights during the Christmas and New Year’s period is now at 9,890, about 21% higher than it’s low point on June 4th. Since early October, fares have been increasing steadily.
Unfortunately, things are likely to get worse. After the Thanksgiving holiday, a lot of travelers turn their attention to Christmas. Next week is typically a very busy week for holiday bookings, which tends to drive fares even higher. If you haven’t booked your holiday flights yet, we hate to say it, but things are only going to get worse as Christmas approaches.
If you encounter some sticker shock when you start searching, the best advice we can give is to try to be flexible on your dates. Do multiple searches for every combination of dates you might be willing to fly. You might be surprised at how much a day or two can make a difference. We’ll be publishing some more data on this soon, but for now keep in mind that the Saturdays before Christmas, after Christmas, and after New Years are particularly busy travel days (which means expensive). If you can avoid the weekends altogether, you’ll probably save. Christmas Eve and New Years Eve are always good days to fly, but the Monday before Christmas is also a good one, as are the Thursday and Monday after.