The summer of 2021 has been stressful and costly for travelers, with crowded airports and high flight prices. In the fall and early winter, however, it sounds like a very different story: flight prices have already started to drop beyond their usual seasonal decline, though travelers should still expect to pay a nice penny for airline tickets during peak holiday periods.
What kinds of offers can travelers expect this fall? Well, JetBlue just launched a big sale with one-way flight prices like $ 39 from Boston to Miami and $ 44 from New York (JFK) to Dallas.
Airline tickets have been trending down for several weeks now, at least in part due to concerns over increasing cases of COVID-19. U.S. flight prices fell nearly 13% in August from July, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Airfares typically decline from July to August, but this year airfares were still down 9% month-over-month, even after adjusting for seasonal changes in demand.
Additionally, while it is normal for flight prices to drop once the kids are back to school, this year’s drop could be more pronounced than normal, even compared to the pre-pandemic period. In August, travel research site Hopper forecast a 10% drop in round-trip air fares in September and average prices of $ 274 from September to November for domestic flights. It’s slightly cheaper than the same period in 2019 ($ 284).
Meanwhile, airlines recently reported a drop in flight bookings for most of the fall and early winter. The Associated press reported that airlines like Southwest and United are facing an increase in cancellations and milder bookings from September through mid-December, with the exception of the busy Thanksgiving period.
This seems to be what motivates carriers like JetBlue to promote aggressive sales, and airlines are virtually guaranteed to keep lowering fares in order to fill seats on planes.
How to get the best flight deals for the holidays
Travel deals can be easy to find over the next few months, but it will still be very expensive to fly on peak dates around Thanksgiving and the winter vacation.
To get the cheapest vacation flights possible, be sure to book your trip in advance and choose your departure dates carefully. According to Hopper’s travel forecast, the cheapest date for U.S. flights around Thanksgiving this year is Monday, November 22. If you’re looking to save money, it’s best to avoid flying on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (November 28), which is one of the most expensive days of the year for airline tickets. . Hopper also recommends that you book Thanksgiving flights no later than Halloween, and earlier is probably better.
As for Christmas, Hopper says Tuesday, December 21 is shaping up to be the cheapest date for domestic flights, while the day after the holidays (Sunday, December 26) is the most expensive. Book your Christmas flights no later than Thanksgiving if you’re hoping to get a decent price, says Hopper, and be prepared to pay an extra $ 100 or more if you’re trying to book a flight just weeks after you leave.
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