Is it already time to book your Thanksgiving trip home? Last-minute deals might seem plentiful and beneficial, but a new report, and our own DealNews experience, suggests booking ahead is still the best bet.
Hopper.com recently published a report comparing travel data from between 2013 and 2014. (Click here to see the full report.) The report reveals that despite being urged to book in September by travel providers, most Thanksgiving travelers don't start booking before October. Interestingly though, Hopper's report shows that in 2013, prices for airfare remained constant until 10 days before departure, at which point they shot up!
That said, our own travel team here is already starting to see prices rise. For example, Virgin America fall travel has risen by 28% since last week. Thus, while the average rates might remain fairly constant, it seems as if specific airlines might be subject to fluctuation; since Hopper's data doesn't show better prices on the horizon, a wise traveler should probably book sooner than later.
As with most things, your flexibility will determine your savings. The Hopper report showed that flight prices during Thanksgiving 2013 were 35% higher than non-holiday flights in November. If your work/family restrictions mean you can only fly on Wednesday, November 26 with return on Sunday, November 30, then you can expect to pay at least $30 more than surrounding dates — and as much as $100 more compared to a departing flight on Sunday, November 23.
While flexible travelers might be able to wait a while before booking their flights, we recommend that anyone with specific "Thanksgiving dates" take advantage of one of our current airfare sales and book now to lock down a good price.
Best Thanksgiving Week Airfare Sales
- Southwest Airlines to / from Dallas: 1-Way Flights from $172.10. We found this price on routes from Denver, CO, (DEN) to Dallas, TX, (DAL) departing on November 26. If you can travel on either side of this date, you can save at least $36.
- Virgin America Domestic Flights: 1-Way Flights from $72.10. We found this rate from Las Vegas, NV, (LAS) to Los Angeles, CA, (LAX) departing on November 26. Many routes are still at non-holiday rates during the Thanksgiving week, although we have seen a rise in prices since last week.
- Spirit Airlines Roundtrip Flights: Roundtrip Flights from $104.18. We found this price on routes from Los Angeles, CA, (LAX) to Las Vegas, NV, (LAS) departing on November 25 with return on November 28.
- Toronto Escapes: Flights to Toronto for $81.82. We found this price on routes from New York, NY, (JFK) to Toronto, Canada, (YYZ) departing on November 24 (a low by $15).
- Southwest Airlines to / from Washington D.C.: 1-Way Flights from $82.60. We found this price on routes from Tampa, FL, (TPA) to Washington D.C. (DCA) departing on November 26 (low by $66).
- Southwest Airlines Nationwide: 1-Way Flights from $55.60. We found this price on routes from Houston, TX, (HOU) to New Orleans, LA, (MSY) departing on November 26 (low by $43). Note that even though this rate is on a Thanksgiving date it is still an all-time low for any 1-way Southwest Airlines flight.
If you're not quite ready to book, you can still keep an eye on all the latest airfare sales here.