SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?
THE COST OF HOLIDAY AIR TRAVEL!
Have you booked your flights for the holidays? If not shame
on you. By
waiting you could be among the many thousands of Americans
who will pay an
astronomical price for an airline ticket and that's if you
get lucky enough
to find an available flight to your destination.
When it comes to air travel, the 2002 holiday season is shaping
up to be one
of the worst on record. No doubt, many of you have heard of
known as the airline industry. US Airways declared bankruptcy
last month and
at press time United Airlines was contemplating a similar
move. This month
brought more doom and gloom for the airlines industry as Continental
announced plans to drastically reduce the number of flights
they offer. And
if that wasn't bad enough Continental planned to raise fees
customers. Continental's costing cutting measuresfollowed
a similar move by
American Airlines just a month earlier.
So what does this mean to your holiday travel plans? Reduced
the airlines need to increase profits means you will spend
a fortune on
airline tickets. In fact it might already be too late. But
all is not
lost if you know how the airlines operate and you don't mind
little extra time shopping for the best fares.
The airlines have what are known as blackout dates around
holidays. Traveling on blackout dates could double or triple
the cost of an
already high airline ticket according to Tom Parsons, of BestFares.com.
you plan to fly this Thanksgiving avoid November 26 or 27
and December 1 or
2. On coast-to-coast flights Parsons says keep an eye on routes
Southwest Airlines. The low fares offered by Southwest Airlines
force other carriers who fly the same route to reduce their
prices in order
to remain competitive.
If you're stuck making last second Thanksgiving travel plans,
offer what are known as turkey fares. Parsons says turkey
become available 21 days before Thanksgiving so start checking
November. Turkey fares can be difficult to find, so employ
the services of
a good travel agent and shop the Internet for deals. Pay particular
attention to websites that specialize in last minute fares
Peter Greenberg, travel editor for NBC's Today Show and author
Crew Confidential" recommends traveling to second tier
airports to save a
little money. If you're flying to Chicago try Midway Airport
O'Hare. If New York is your destination, try Long Island Islip
JFK or La Guardia. Why? Most discount carriers fly into these
airports. That means cheaper flights and smaller crowds.
Christmas and New Years are on a Wednesday this year. That
blackout dates surrounding the holidays will last almost three
starting around December 20th and lasting through January
5. A good day to
fly during the blackout period might actually be Christmas
Day. And if
you're counting on the airlines to waive the Saturday night
requirements and offer lower fares because it's Christmas,
Florida, Mexico, Hawaii, the Caribbean and ski resorts are
destinations for holiday travel. If you're reading this article
made travel plans by now you just might want to consider staying
at home or
lowering your expectations. Air travel to these destinations
has been sold
out for months. But if you have money to burn several Caribbean
might have last-minute three and four night package deals
if you can travel
between the Christmas and New Years Holidays.