Hearty Fare. Early Booking Crucial for Thanksgiving Fliers
If you need a good reason to book your Thanksgiving airfare ASAP, its's this: It'll cost you $5 per day more if you delay.
"The sooner you shop, the more you save," Rich Seaney, CEO of FareCompare, told the Daily News.
Procrastinate until early November and "it's all bets off," Seaney added. "You're really at that poit where you're running up against fares airlines charge business travelers. You could even pay hundreds of dollars more than you have to," he warned.
Thanksgiving is not only one of the busiest times of years to fly, but one of the most lucrative for the airlines.
Delay, and you'll also find nonstop flights full, so there's also a convenience factor involved in booking earlier.
The goo news is that this year, base fares for holiday travel are up less than 1.5% over last year, which is less than the rate of inflation.
The bad news, according to Seaney, is that 2012 saw the highest fares in eight years.
So what can New Yorkers expect to pay for holiday travel? It depends a lot on what day you fly.
The most expensive days are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 27) and the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving (Dec. 1 and 2).
Fly on other dates - including Thanksgiving Day - and save big, said Warren Chang, vice president and general manager of airfare search engine Fly.com.
Take the popular route of Newark to Miami, for example. Fly out on the busy days (Wednesday and Sunday) and you'll pay from $641 for a one-stop flight.
Change your return to Monday, and you'll pay $419 - a 44% savings, plus it's a nonstop flight.
The same type of formula works when you look at JFK Airport to San Francisco.
On prime days, you'll pay $699 and up, but change your return from Sunday to Monday and the price dips to $442.
Take a few extra days off and do your trip Monday to Monday, and you'll pay only $334.
If you don't yhave specific travel plans but want to escape over the holiday break, Chang suggested you consider hopping over to Europe. Fares from New York to Dublin are from $485, while New York to Milan is from $580 nonstop.
According to Chang, the lower fares are the result of fewer international business travelers on the road during the holiday period.
"It's also easier to use your frequent flier miles to upgrade to business class seats on international flights during a time when most Americans are looking to fly domestically," Chang said.