Your best chance to save on a Thanksgiving flight

Over the last month, our Thanksgiving Fare Index has been on a relentless climb and there’s no escaping the fact that Thanksgiving fares are getting expensive. We want to make sure customers have all the information necessary to make an educated decision before purchasing Thanksgiving travel.

Your best chance to save on a Thanksgiving flight

As flights fill up and fares rise, there is one piece of advice we can give which, above all else, could make a big difference between getting a decent deal and paying through the nose:

Be flexible.

Last night we crunched a bunch of numbers to determine, across most domestic markets, the average lowest fare for every combination of travel dates during the Thanksgiving period. The numbers paint a clear picture of how much money you can save by adjusting your travel dates by one or two days. For instance, the typical Wednesday to Sunday trip is, on average, $251 more than a Monday to Friday trip that begins and ends two days earlier.

As you can see from the table below, the date you return is more significant than the date you depart, although smart planning of either can yield savings.  The Sunday after Thanksgiving is regularly the busiest travel day of the year and pairing any departure date–even Thanksgiving Day itself–with a Sunday return is more expensive than any other itinerary coming back on any other date. A Saturday return is the second most expensive, and a Monday return is the third most. Across all departure dates, you can save an average of $140 per ticket if you return on Monday instead of Sunday, or $97 per ticket if you return on Saturday. If you can get some extra time off work, you’ll do even better returning on Tuesday — average savings of $240!

With respect to departure date, we are seeing something unusual this year in that fares departing on the Friday before Thanksgiving are actually more expensive than the usual peak day which is Wednesday. Still, Wednesday flights are packed and on the expensive side. If you really want a bargain, try flying out on Monday. You’ll save an average of $48 per ticket versus flying out on Wednesday.

Here’s the complete list. Keep in mind, these fares are just averages across most domestic markets. You may see some variance for your particular route so we suggest checking all possible date combinations for which you’d be willing to fly. Also note that these fares are the average lowest fares that come up in searches. Often the lowest fare is a flight with an inconvenient time, an extra stop, or a long layover.  As high as some of these numbers are, actual fares purchased are usually higher, as travelers opt for more convenient options.

Departure Date Return Date Fare
Thanksgiving Day Tue Dec-2 $393
Mon Nov-24 Tue Dec-2 $397
Sun Nov-23 Tue Dec-2 $407
Tue Nov-25 Tue Dec-2 $426
Mon Nov-24 Fri Nov-28 $431
Sun Nov-23 Fri Nov-28 $442
Wed Nov-26 Fri Nov-28 $446
Sat Nov-22 Tue Dec-2 $446
Wed Nov-26 Tue Dec-2 $448
Fri Nov-21 Fri Nov-28 $459
Tue Nov-25 Fri Nov-28 $471
Mon Nov-24 Mon Dec-1 $481
Sat Nov-22 Fri Nov-28 $482
Thanksgiving Day Mon Dec-1 $487
Thanksgiving Day Sat Nov-29 $498
Sun Nov-23 Mon Dec-1 $500
Fri Nov-21 Mon Dec-1 $527
Tue Nov-25 Mon Dec-1 $529
Wed Nov-26 Mon Dec-1 $540
Sat Nov-22 Mon Dec-1 $541
Mon Nov-24 Sat Nov-29 $541
Sun Nov-23 Sat Nov-29 $550
Fri Nov-21 Sat Nov-29 $580
Sat Nov-22 Sat Nov-29 $580
Tue Nov-25 Sat Nov-29 $582
Wed Nov-26 Sat Nov-29 $594
Thanksgiving Day Sun Nov-30 $624
Sun Nov-23 Sun Nov-30 $628
Mon Nov-24 Sun Nov-30 $629
Fri Nov-21 Sun Nov-30 $668
Tue Nov-25 Sun Nov-30 $670
Sat Nov-22 Sun Nov-30 $682
Wed Nov-26 Sun Nov-30 $682

 

You might also want to keep an eye on our Holiday Fares Index for the most current market conditions for purchasing holiday flights. Please leave your comments or questions below, tweet to us @CheapAir, or email your questions to Ask@CheapAir.com.

Search Cheap Flights for Thanksgiving

4 Comments

  1. Given that seats are available for the desired dates of travel, why do fares increase the nearer to departure? Would it not be better to sell the seat, at a reasonable price?

    1. Hi Richard,

      Airlines fluctuate the pricing of fares all the time. Their goal is to fill every seat and make the most money they can. Once an airfare gets to a certain point prior to the departure the demand for the remaining seats drives up the pricing. That’s why waiting till the day before departure, fares are at their highest due to the potential demand for travelers who have to fly. To learn more about how airfares work, you can read this article: http://bit.ly/1pLv8mA

  2. When is the best time to travel during Xmas…from avp to las.. When should I look for best price…It’s for me and my son, we need to get away ,my mom passed away and we don’t want to be home…so I need the best possible price….thank you..

    1. Hi Sharon,

      I’m sorry for your loss. The best way to save on flights for the holidays is to book early and avoid peak days. The more flexible you can be with your dates, the better your chances of getting a cheaper fare are. You can refer to our Cheap Flights Holiday Index to find tips and locate the cheapest days to travel on. To view flight schedules and book, you can use this link: http://bit.ly/1ubH7Ga Keep in mind, when you book on CheapAir.com, if the price for the same itinerary goes down any time before your trip, we’ll pay you back the difference in the form of a travel voucher for up to $100 per ticket! Please let us know if you need any help with finding flights.