If you haven’t already booked your flights for Thanksgiving (and sometimes waiting is the cheaper option), listen up.
“Even more so than Christmas or New Years, it makes a huge difference which day you fly on Thanksgiving,” explains Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir.com. “It’s such a short travel period that everyone wants to fly the same days, and the flights on the most popular days — Wednesday and Sunday — are filled quickly and get really expensive.”
This year, CheapAir looked into the cost of domestic American flights around the holiday, and found that simply moving your departure or return date one day could save you hundreds of dollars.
“The Sunday after Thanksgiving is almost always the busiest travel day of the year,” Klee says. For that reason, avoiding it could knock the price of your flight down considerably.
If you return on …
- Friday: You could save an average of $US178
- Saturday: $US83
- Monday: $US124
- Tuesday: $US210
You may be able to save a significant amount of money by staying until Tuesday, but of course that also depends on whether you can take the time off work, whether you’re paying for accommodations, and whether you can spend that long with your extended family.
Departure price differences aren’t as pronounced — you may be able to save an average of $US11 by taking a flight on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving instead of Wednesday, or $US45 by leaving as early as Monday — but Klee has noticed one pattern unique to 2014.
“What’s unusual this year is that as of now, the premium for Wednesday flights isn’t as great as it normally is and probably will be as we get closer to the holiday,” he says. Knowing that, fliers who plan to depart on Wednesday might want to go ahead and book their tickets.
CheapAir arrived at these numbers by analysing 11,000 holiday flight fares every day since April. You can see the current results, future predictions, and the average price of flights today on their Holiday Cheap Flights Index.