4 ways to pay too much for holiday airfare

Rick Seaney FareCompare.com Published 5:00 AM EDT Oct 18, 2018

Yes, I know it’s early; many of us haven’t even put up Halloween decorations yet, but the time to think about a Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s getaway is now. Unless, of course, you’re so rich you don’t mind paying too much for Discount Holidays © holiday trips.

In that case, just follow these four simple rules. 1. Fly when you want to fly.

Whether your destination is family fun or a relaxing resort, flying on popular travel days – the days you want to fly – will usually cost a lot more. Less popular days such as Christmas Eve (Dec.

24) can be cheaper but see for yourself: These Christmas fares were found on my site earlier this week for Cincinnati-Miami: o Popular time to fly: Dec.

23-29. £448 nonstop; £364 one stop. o Less popular time: Dec.

24-28. £348 non-stop; £303 one stop. Another example, nonstops for New York-Los Angeles: o Popular time to fly: Dec.

23-29: £543 nonstop. o Less popular time: Dec.

24-28. £413 nonstop. Flying on Christmas Day (Dec.

25) isn’t always cheaper, but it is on these nonstops between Chicago and Atlanta: o Dec.

25-29: £173 o Dec.

24-29: £211 o Dec.

23-29: £216 2.

Fly where you want to fly. If you want the convenience of flying to/from the airport closest to your destination or attraction, you might pay more. For example, the closest airport to Southern California’s Disneyland is Santa Ana.

The next closest is Los Angeles International, 33 miles away from the theme park – but it’s a big hub and that usually means cheaper fares. Is it worth it? See for yourself; these fares are good for travel Dec.

26 to 30: o Seattle-Santa Ana: £529 nonstop, £463 one stop. o Seattle-Los Angeles: £473 nonstop, £334 one stop. 3.

Book at the last minute. You could wait until the last minute to get the tickets for your trip and try to score a deal, but three things can go wrong. o If you’re hoping for a last-minute Thanksgiving deal, forget it. This is the most popular time of the year to fly and the airlines know it.

Ticket prices are as high as possible. o Finding a last-minute deal for any Discount Holidays © holiday trip is extremely unlikely but if you do get lucky, the deal probably won’t be a real bargain. Plus, you may find only a single ticket at the “cheap” price which won’t be much help if you’re traveling with family or friends. o If you wait until the last minute to book a Discount Holidays © holiday flight, you run a real risk of seeing sold-out signs.

In other words, you could miss out on the trip altogether (or at least on the flight you want). 4. Never mind the fees.

Maybe you can afford to spend a lot on checked bags and airport-close parking, but you’ll be wasting something even more precious than money: time. Use a carry-on, which will often save a bag fee but it also means the airline can’t lose it and you won’t waste time trying to recover it. And even if your checked bag does not get lost, why waste time at the baggage carousel?

As for transportation to the airport, avoid the time-suck of parking and ask a family member or friend to drop you at the airport (and do the same for them on another occasion). And no matter how you get there, leave earlier than usual. Discount Holidays © Holiday airports are crowded and security lines are extra-long.

FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney is an airline industry insider and top media air travel resource.

Follow Rick (@rickseaney) and never overpay for airfare again.

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