Arts Blog: 2010 Thanksgiving Airfare Travel Sees a Spike from 2009

November 4, 2010  

Posted by Kassi Schmitt

Thanksgiving break is officially less than three weeks away.  And for many SMU students, that means they’ll be packing their bags and heading to the airports to return home to visit family and friends.

 The holiday season is bouncing back this year from a rough 2009 when people cut back on airline tickets to save money in the tough economy.  For 2010, the Air Transport Association (ATA) expects over 24 million people to be traveling during a 12 day window around the holiday.  That would be a 3.5 percent year-over-year increase in terms of passengers from last year.

 But although this is good news for airlines, it brings some not-so-good news for passengers. Why?

  • With an average of 1.3 to 2.5 million people flying everyday there are going to be some pretty crowded airports.  (Airlines are encouraging fliers to get there extra early)
  • Planes are also going to be running close to capacity, with load factors approaching 90 percent. They will be holding about 10 percent less than in 2008 so get ready for some majorly minimal leg space.
  • Fares are increasing.  In addition to airlines rising prices for round trip tickets (the average ticket is going at $385 this year!), they are tacking on extra fees for travel goods and checked bags.

 In order to reduce the cost of flights, airline experts say that it would be best to fly out on Thanksgiving Day and return the Tuesday or Wednesday after.  It’s also better to order your tickets as soon as you can. The later you wait, the more expensive fares will be!

 I would also suggest using FareCompare’s Thanksgiving Flight Finder.  Just type in where you’re flying to and from and it will give you the cheapest option of which days to travel and which flights to book.  

Happy traveling!

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