By: Hipmunk Staff
If you want to fly this holiday season but fear that airfare is already too steep, Hipmunk says travelers who book by the week of October 26 may still be able to avoid stiff price hikes. We examined flight booking data from 2014 and 2015 to predict flight price patterns for the busiest travel period of the year. Here is what we found:
Based on 2014 data, consumers can avoid significant flight increases by booking December holiday travel before October 31. The data suggests that earlier booking is better: we predict steady price increases starting the week of October 26 through December 21.
“Early” Procrastinators won’t be punished. Booking the week October 26 will only bump prices 3-4 percent over the last week of September, which was the best time to lock in the lowest rates. But if you really, really procrastinate, that will cost you. We expect that the week of December 21 airfares will be 44 percent higher than the week of October 26.
Good news. There’s one more travel day in the 2015 holiday season, and that means one more option for departures and one more day to potentially save, even though we expect booking patterns to be similar to 2014. Airfares are down this year. For now. Overall, people who booked flights this year between Saturday, December 20 and Sunday, December 27 saved 3 percent versus the equivalent days last year ($361 versus $372 in 2014). Finally, if you are looking to save even more on your airfare, don’t fly December 23 when prices are 5-6 percent higher than those on December 24. Try heading home to Santa on Christmas Eve day instead.