Higher fares predicted for coming holidays

  • Article by: KERRI WESTENBERG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 2, 2010 - 12:48 PM

Book now and be flexible with dates to find the best fares for Thanksgiving and Christmas flights.

Here's one thing you should add to your wish list this holiday season: a drivable destination for your celebrations.

Airfares for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are sky high, and they probably won't be heading down.

Domestic airfares over the November holiday are up an average of 10 percent, according to an analysis by Travelocity, the online travel agency. Rick Seaney, chief executive of the travel site Farecompare.com, calculates that airfares for both holidays are up by 17 percent.

The dramatic increase comes at a time when more people are returning to the air, even as airlines are slow to add seat capacity. Airlines cut prices and flights last year to lure travelers scared off by the recession and the H1N1 flu virus.

Travelers should book now and be flexible, said Sandy Anderson, owner of Travel Leaders in Coon Rapids. She has been able to find fares similar to last year's, but that will get more difficult as seats fill up. She also said package trips to warm destinations are still available for the holidays; pre-recession, those packages could sell out by July.

Historically, holiday sales pop up in early November for Thanksgiving and early December for Christmas, she said, but the dates and times of the flights have been impractical for all but the most flexible travelers.

"You can't bank on [the sales]," she said. "Now is the time to book."

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