Flying for the Holidays
If you plan to fly during the Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday,
I have a message for you. Get your tickets now. Most airlines
have cut service by 20 percent since the terrorist attacks
of September 11, 2001. Further compounding the problem, most
of the major airlines are drowning in red ink, despite the
$15 billion government bailout.
That translates to fewer and more expensive flights. Just
this past week United Airlines cut hundreds of flights from
an already reduced schedule. According to a Los Angeles Times
story, United, which operated 2,400 flights a day before September
11, cut back to about 1,850 after the terrorist attacks. On
November 1, United will scale down even further trimming their
schedule to approximately to 1,654 flights a day. In an industry
known for playing follow the leader; you should expect other
carriers to follow suit, with the lone exception being Southwest
Airlines. LAX appears to have taken the biggest hit in this
recent round of cuts as United reduced their service out of
the nation’s third busiest airport by 40 percent.
So, in the big scheme of things what does this mean to your
holiday travel plans? With more Americans returning to the
skies and reduced flight schedules, finding a ticket if you
wait to long could leave many of out in the cold. As most
of you already know, most airlines raise prices during heavily
travel holiday periods in the normal course of business. Now,
with reduced schedules and more passengers, the law of supply
and demand tells me to expect higher fares.
Having said that, the airlines won’t go out of their way to
gouge passengers, but its safe to say prices will be higher
than they are now. If you’re a gambler or a procrastinator
and you wait until the last second to purchase a ticket in
the hopes of finding planes either half-full or fares at sharply
discounted prices, you could be in for a rude awakening. I
would still recommend booking earlier to receive the best
Be prepared for tight---tight----tight security. Terrorists
like to make statements. What better time to target America
than during the heavily traveled holiday season. The Federal
Aviation Administration, the airlines and any agency charged
with airport security will be on a heightened state of alert.
You should plan accordingly and arrive at the airport early.
If you’re one of the brave souls who plan to fly the day before
Thanksgiving, November 21, plan to arrive at the airport at
least three hours early for a domestic flight. Here are a
few tips you might want to take note of when flying during
If you plan to take gifts to loved ones, don’t take them on
the plane ship them early. The FAA has ordered the airlines
to restrict the amount of carry-on bag to one item, plus a
purse. Please adhere to this requirement. It will speed up
security checks. Make sure all your luggage is marked properly.
If you want to avoid crowds, considering flying into alternate
airports like Burbank instead of LAX, Midway instead of Chicago’s
O’Hare or Ft. Lauderdale instead of Miami.