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Winter Holidays Flights 2019: Tips for Thanksgiving and Christmas Orders



(CNN) – While travel agencies are thriving for the best times to buy the cheapest airline tickets, it's hard to escape the reality: Flying in some of this year's busiest travel periods won't usually be cheap.

In this era of full-fledged flights, smaller seats and extra leg room fees, which airline will offer reasonable prices around Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year? Common business sense dictates that high prices will follow high demand.

What is it that exposes travelers to do besides driving or taking the train to get to their destinations? CNN checked with air travel experts on time-consuming ways to alleviate price pains.

Buy your tickets soon

  If you fly on actual holidays, you may have a much easier time going through security.

If you fly on actual vacations, you may have a much easier time going through security.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

If you haven't bought airline tickets yet, it's time to buy now.

"Vacationers should put in their plans now and start booking flights for fall Thanksgiving and Christmas already on Wednesday, September 25 to get the best deals and availability," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA – The Auto Club Group, in a statement . "Knowing when to book and which days to fly can help travelers effectively manage their budget and avoid the crowds."

Travelers who book between 28 and 60 days before the fall Thanksgiving party – it's between September 25 and October 27 – can get a good price ($ 491 on average), according to AAA.

If you want to arrive before your holiday, the best choice is to fly on Monday. It has the lowest average ticket price ($ 486) before the holidays.

Actually flying on vacation offers the lowest average price per ticket ($ 454) while Tuesday ($ 521) and Wednesday ($ 527) before the holidays are costly and the heaviest days for flights, AAA says. There is also the chance that bad weather will ruin the plans for holiday meals.

Christmas and New Year

A look at the back story of the Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol." CNN's Nick Glass reports.

In general, Christmas and New Year work much like Thanksgiving: high demand, high prices. Again, off-peak flying is your friend.

While booking Thanksgiving travel, you might as well book for Christmas and New Year. AAA says that bookings between September 26 and October 25 are best for Christmas aircraft bookings, with lower-than-average prices ($ 551) compared to bookings previously.

Travelers flying Christmas Eve are enjoying the easiest day of the year, with the lowest average fares ($ 527), AAA says.

But you should be careful about that return or another New Year flight, since December 26 has the highest average ticket price of the week ($ 692).

Sign up for alerts

Just like the rest of the year, many prices fluctuate during the run-up to the holiday season, said Tracy Stewart, editor of the airfarewatchdog.com airline offer.

How do you know if the price of your route will go down before going up again? The website recommends that travelers sign up for price alerts. You can get educated about the general cost of your air travel, and you will receive an email when prices fall.

"If you see a good price, hang it," Stewart says. "The only thing our data clearly shows is that if you wait until the last minute, you will pay dearly."

Look at alternative airports

  Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the city's biggest, but you have other options to consider when booking a flight.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the city's largest, but you have other options to consider when booking a flight.

David McNew / Getty Images

The airport you use can make a difference to how much you use.

Always look at optional airports – The New York / New Jersey area has five airports, and so does Los Angeles. [19659003] Houston and Chicago have two each. And be sure to check out Southwest.com in addition to Kayak or other search engines. (Not all airlines are on travel sites.)

On some super-competitive routes (think Chicago-New York), there will always be "a few scattered seats and flight times that will be on sale," he says .

Don't forget to count the fees

  Don't forget to think about extra fees like checked bags when calculating your travel costs.

Don & # 39; Don't forget to think of extra fees like checked bags when calculating travel costs.

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images Europe / Getty Images

Remember to include luggage fees, extra fees and groceries before you book flights. Credit card holders with airlines can get a free checked bag and other benefits.

Make sure you also consider the cost of transportation on the ground, and note that public trains often whip people into cities faster than private cars (think Washington, Atlanta, San Francisco) and the fees for Lift and Uber may vary depending on when you order them.

Effect of 737 Max

The founding of the Boeing 737 Max may not have much impact because the planes are not a large percentage of global capacity. But Hopper travel app economist Hayley Berg says it's possible there could be less capacity and therefore, less carrier competition, on a particular route.

Other advice

  Consider sending gifts early, rather than carrying them on airplanes.

Think about sending your gifts early instead of shipping them on the plane.

Adam Berry / Getty Images Europe / Getty Images

Check flight status: Uploading airline and airport apps is easy enough for your trip. You may notice delays and even rebooking on some websites. (Keep a phone charger and extra battery pack available to call your airline.)

Insurance: Travel insurance is a good deal if you are worried about unpredictable winter weather or illness (read prints for to see what's covered).

Early birds: Delays are less likely early in the morning, but you also have more options if your flight is canceled in the early morning. You may miss your sleep getting up early, but you may also miss the crowds and misery.

Delay in the week: Orbitz also points out that the prices – along with the hotel room – often drop much the week after the Thanksgiving party, Christmas and New Year.

Presents: If you fly to see family, you can send your gifts instead of taking them on the plane. It saves problems and fees. (You can even wrap them at Grandma's house.)

Go global: International air fares can be a good deal for Americans this time of year. So if your family has an understanding of pushing Christmas into spring, maybe a holiday break is in order.

CNN's Forrest Brown contributed to this article.


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