Welcome to the 2014 edition of the CheapAir Holiday Fare Index! We’ve built this section of our site to make it easier for you to find the best air fares for travel during the busy Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years’ seasons.
In years past, we and many other sites used to publish after-the-fact analysis of holiday travel, telling you after the holidays which days proved the best to fly and buy. But last year we decided to do something a little bit more useful and provide ongoing, real-time analysis and trends before the holidays to actually help you make smarter decisions. Our CheapAir Holiday Fare Index got a great response and so we’re back with another in 2014.
Why such a fuss about holiday flights? With school ending and the weather finally getting warm, we know Christmas and Thanksgiving are the furthest things from most of your minds. And, after all, we are always the first to say that, next to buying a ticket too late, often the second worst thing you can do is to buy a ticket too early.
But from an air fare perspective the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons are so unique–and potentially so hard on your wallet– that it makes sense to start thinking about your plans much earlier than you normally would need to.
As we’ve pointed out many times, the single biggest factor that affects the price of a flight is how full that flight is. Once a flight is booked beyond a certain level, airlines stop offering their lowest fares on that flight, even when fares are on sale. The problem with holiday travel is that eventually almost every flight fills up.
The CheapAir Holiday Fare Index is here to help you get a sense of how holiday fares are trending. The index number itself is kind of like a stock market index. We calculate it daily by examining fares for travel around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays across a diverse sample of domestic markets. The number itself is not that important, but the general trend is, and it will give you an idea if fares are currently higher or lower than they’ve been, and in what direction things are moving in.
For 2014, we have separated the Thanksgiving season and the Christmas/New Years one into two different indexes. For both, we started collecting data on April 1st. We’ll continue to collect it and update the Holiday Fare Index all the way through the holidays. Along the way, our in-house flight experts will weigh in with comments and advice that will hopefully help you make a smart decision about when you should buy your holiday flight.
So if you’re looking to save money on holiday flights this year, start checking fares now. Get a sense of what the market is like and check back with us often. We’ll do what we can to make the process a little easier, and help you get where you need to be for a little less.