KSL INVESTIGATES

How to land a deal on a plane ticket during the holiday travel season

Oct 22, 2021, 10:34 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 10:02 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — In a normal year, it would be way too late to start thinking about booking flights for Thanksgiving and Christmas, at least without paying an arm and a leg. But this year is different, and it is giving procrastinators some opportunities to still snag deals on their holiday travel.

If you are feeling the pull to get together with friends and family after more than a year of missed opportunities, you have just a little over a week left to lock in deals on airline tickets for Thanksgiving or Christmas, says flight expert Willis Orlando, member operations specialist for Scott’s Cheap Flights.

“If you booked by the end of October, you might have a good chance to snag one of those $155 cross country deals that we’ve been seeing pretty frequently,” said Orlando.

Travelers can expect to pay around $300 round-trip for their Thanksgiving airfare and around $430 for Christmas, according to travel site, Hopper.

But once we are about three weeks out from Thanksgiving, Orlando said airfare during the holidays will soar.

What is a little different this year is that possible last-minute deals might pop up through the season, because while demand is up, it is still below supply.

“The airlines put a ton of planes back in the sky kind of late summer, anticipating a certain demand, and the demand hasn’t quite kept up,” said Orlando. “We’re still about 25% down. And total flights are just from where we were in 2019, which means there are empty seats, which means airlines are scrambling and scrambling to fill them, which means good deals.”

As for finding good deals, Orlando recommended using tools such as Google Flights and Kayak.

Those sites allow you to set up alerts for specific routes and specific days that will let you know when prices drop.

Orlando also said travelers can avoid predictable price jumps by booking tickets before their 21, 14 and seven-day marks.

“When airlines put their tickets on sale, they have different fare rules for each fare class, and very often, they had to have a minimum advanced purchase window,” said Orlando.

For travelers, that means a fare typically goes up 21 days, 14 days and 7 days before the flight takes off, he explained.

“Keep your eye on that three-week timer (or two-week, or one-week) and make sure you’re checking those fares very diligently coming up to that 21-day mark (or 14-day, or 7-day) because you may miss out on your best chance to grab the lowest fares,” Orlando said.

And flexibility saves, so avoid traveling the day before Thanksgiving, or the Sunday after, to get the best rate.

“If you are willing to fly one or two days off from everybody else, you can save hundreds of dollars,” said Orlando. “The same thing for the Christmas holidays — folks who are willing to fly either before Dec. 20, after Jan. 6, or on Christmas day itself, are going to save a lot of money, compared to the folks who have to fly the 22nd or 23rd.”

Orlando said Thanksgiving will be a cheaper time to travel internationally.

Since most travelers are making their way home for a family meal, the airlines will slash prices to fill their planes flying to Europe or the Caribbean.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

KSL Investigators help bank customer regain access to his money after fraud incident

KSL Investigators help a fraud victim gain access to his bank account after nearly a year of being locked out.
3 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

What are the rules for airline travel credits?

After canceling a beach vacation to Hawaii, a Utah woman believes she has $1,400 in flight credits. Ongoing flight cancellations have plagued the summer travel season, and a lot of travelers are being made whole with flight credits rather than refunds.
4 days ago
FILE PHOTO - Shown are a smartphone and computer....
Matt Gephardt

Can a company pull the rebate runaround?

When a West Valley City woman took up Verizon on a rebate offer to upgrade but could not get the rebate, she contacted the KSL Investigators for help.
10 days ago
FILE PHOTO...
Daniella Rivera

KSL Investigates: How is Utah’s new self-defense law impacting justice?

Is a new Utah self-defense law improving our justice system or leading to unintended consequences? The KSL Investigators analyzed a full year of cases.
11 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Utah home sellers drop asking prices as market slows from a frenzied pace

For years, Utah has been one of the nation's hottest real estate markets, but now it appears to be cooling as sellers are slashing prices.
11 days ago
FILE (Getty Images)...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Gephardt Busts Inflation: How you can save money by switching from one of the big three wireless carriers to an MVNO

We have all heard of the big guys of wireless networks - Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. But many smaller carriers use the same infrastructure as the big three and for you that means you can get the service you need for much less by switching to one of the other guys.
14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
How to land a deal on a plane ticket during the holiday travel season