The best days to fly for the holidays

What's The Deal

November 23, 2008|By MICHELLE DEAL-ZIMMERMAN | MICHELLE DEAL-ZIMMERMAN,michelle.deal@baltsun.com

Dreading the coming holiday trip to Grandma's house? So am I. For some reason, I've always found Thanksgiving travel to be the absolute craziest. Maybe it's because the holiday weekend is so short, it makes people more frenzied. Maybe it's because it's a lot of hassle and money for a three-day vacay. But most people, especially women, are willing to deal with all that to make memories, maintain traditions and reconnect with loved ones, according to a Travel Industry Association study.

However this year, AAA is projecting a decline in Thanksgiving travel for the first time since 2002. Still, more than 40 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home for the holiday, the majority by car.

Because I've traveled both ways at Thanksgiving, I'd say it's definitely worse on the ground than in the air. It may be even better in the air this year since the government has opened more flight lanes for air travel across the country.

Priceline.com recently analyzed the data and came up with the best days to fly for the holidays this year. Its list is based on the best fares, and since lower fares usually mean the planes aren't quite as full, maybe you can count on some breathing space at the airport. Here's what the Web site came up with:

Thanksgiving: For the lowest fares, try to travel today, tomorrow and Thanksgiving morning. For average-priced fares, travel Tuesday. Travelers can expect to pay the highest fares if they travel Wednesday.

Christmas/Hanukkah: For the lowest fares, try to travel Dec. 22, 23 and 24. For average-priced fares, travel on Dec. 17, 18, 21, 26 and 30. Also, Jan. 1-2. You'll pay the highest fares if you travel Dec. 19, 20 and 28, and Jan. 3-4.

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