You can still get a great rate around the peak travel season — you just have to know when to fly.
Summer: It is one of the most expensive times to fly all year.
The rates are high because airlines know is that if we want to fly between June 23-Aug. 27. But what can you do?
Fly cheap date, that’s what — and you don’t actually have to wait.
The cheapest days to fly this summer
For US travel, August 28, marks the start of cheaper domestic flights, in general, but this can vary by a day or two, depending on where your home airport is and where you are going.
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At the end of August is the start of the airlines fall season, so look for important price drops in these early days of autumn, and again when the rates drop in October and early November. (Note: There is usually a slight price increase on the Labor Day weekend, and a big bump for Thanksgiving, but other than that, the fly in the fall means saving money.)
If you must fly in the peak season, try to post on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.
If it is on the European trip — and again, precise dates will vary a bit — prices will generally start to drop around September 10. The rates will continue to decline until the early to mid-December, then jump again in time for the Christmas/New Year travel period.
How much you can save
You can save a little or a lot; it depends on how far you fly, the days of the week you travel, how large/competitive your departure airport is, and other variables. These examples are round-trip rates, found at the end of last week on my site; all flights are non-stop.
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- Departure July 11: $170
- Departure Aug. 29: $152 (save $18 per ticket)
- Departure July 11: $480
- Departure Aug. 29: $447 (save $33 per ticket)
- Departure 18 July: $1514
- Depart Sept. 12: $781 (save $733, – per ticket)
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And if you need to fly in the high season,…
Try one of these tips or try them all.
- Fly cheaper days: You can often save some money by flying on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday in the V. S., or fly on weekdays, in other countries.
- Fly cheap airports: If your hometown airport is on the small side and a larger one within driving distance, check out rates for both; the competitive hub-type airports are often cheaper.
- Look out for the bag fees: Ultra-cheap discount airlines are often responsible for all of the bags and can actually charge a higher price for carry-on baggage. On the major airlines, the carry-ons are generally free.
Rick Seaney is an airline travel expert and the co-founder of FareCompare.com an airline ticket comparison shopping website