The Cheapest Days to Fly Around Christmas Are Surprisingly Doable

By now, you’ve probably already booked your Thanksgiving flights (and if you haven’t, you might want to get on that, STAT) — but have you started thinking about your travel plans for the winter holidays yet? If you’ve been wondering when the cheapest dates to fly around Christmas are, look no further; we’ve got the answers, thanks to budget travel site CheapAir.com. That’s presuming, of course, that you celebrate Christmas — although even if you don’t, you still might want to pay attention.

CheapAir did a little number crunching with regards to airline ticket prices in the weeks surrounding Christmas, and surprisingly, their findings didn’t make me want to run away in terror from everything remotely related to air travel. According to their data, Christmas Day itself is, in fact, one of the cheapest departure days — because duh, no one who celebrates the holiday wants to fly on it (so hey, good news for people who don’t celebrate it and want to get out of town for a while — December 25 might be a good day to take to the skies). However, departing on December 18 or 24 will also save you a few bucks. The overall cheapest itinerary involves leaving on December 18 and returning on December 25; according to the cheapest “practical” itinerary, however — the one that doesn’t require flying on Christmas Day — points to December 24 as the departure date and December 31 as the return date. CheapAir has more information at their blog, so head on over there to check it out; in the meantime, I'll be over here hoping for the Floo network to become a reality one day.

But it’s not just when you actually travel that will determine how much your tickets cost; it’s also when you purchase those tickets in the first place. For many years, the prevailing thought was that Tuesday was the day for the best airline ticket deals — but in October of 2014, a new study determined that buying on Sunday actually yields the best prices. According to the Wall Street Journal, one factor behind the change was this: On Mondays, airline executives frequently raise fares, rather than discount them in order to fill seats. Not everyone is convinced by the data, though, including CheapAir — so do with that what you will. We do know, however, that there’s a specific window before your travel date that will help keep down the costs: At least 14 days in advance, but not more than three and a half months. Something to bear in mind, no?

Of course, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and (wo)men — so if you find yourself with a cancelled flight, here’s what to do. We may not be able to make the problem go away completely, but at least we can help you deal with it. Happy flying!

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