If you are planning to fly for the holidays, don’t wait to buy your ticket. Procrastinators are going to pay an even higher rate this year if they wait.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Christmas week flights in the U.S. and the Caribbean will cost 9.4 percent more than last year, and Christmas week fares are up 7.3 percent.
The price you will pay for air travel during the holiday will also depend on when you want to fly. In the case of Christmas, if you can, try to fly out on the morning of Christmas and don’t fly back on Sunday. Try to come back on Friday or Saturday while everyone else is at the malls trying to snap up unheard of Black Friday deals.
The major point for the increase is capacity. Airlines are flying less planes and offering less seating. They have cut back on their capacity, which drives up the demand because you have more people competing for fewer seats. The planes are full, in fact, they are flying at about 85 percent load factors on average.
This trend in air travel is likely to continue because airlines are fighting for “high-yield” travelers. They are no longer fighting for overall traffic, but instead they are going after the business travelers, which is where the money is. This means that cities in Brazil are going to start passing other cities in regards of cost.
Some of the cities that are most affected by the rate hikes are Tampa, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York, Phoenix and Las Vegas.
The best way to cut the cost of your travel during this holiday season will be to change when you fly. The week after Christmas is usually a time when nobody flies, which gives the the best advantage for finding deals. The same holds true for the week after New Years. If you are able to tailor your plans so you are able to fly during these time frames, you can wind up saving a good amount over what you might otherwise have to pay.
Another consideration for saving money during the Christmas holiday, is to travel outside the U.S. The best destination is Europe because they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving which is strictly a U.S. holiday, so as a result a lot of the planes are relatively empty even though they still have to make the trip due to bilateral agreements with the different governments.