Summer time is over. Yeah, I know what the calendar says,
fall doesnít officially begin until September 22. For all
practical purposes summer is over, Labor Day has come and
gone, the kids are back in school and all the blockbuster
summer movies from Jurassic Park to Rush Hour 2 are approaching
home video status.
As journalists you are settling in for the long stretch between
now and Thanksgiving. With no pressing national election to
follow many of you are wondering where the next big story
will come from. Will they find Chandra Levy? Will there be
a natural disaster to report? Will the economy bounce back
in time for Christmas? Those of you on the broadcast side
are planning, if not actually shooting pieces for the November
sweeps, just over a month away.
So, what Iím about to suggest might sound crazy, but here
goes. Have you thought about Thanksgiving? More to the point,
are you planning to fly during the Thanksgiving holiday? Letís
face it most of you will be entirely too busy worrying about
sweeps to properly handle your personal Thanksgiving travel
plans until itís to late.
Oh yeah, you will all do stories on the busiest travel day
of the year. Reporters will be staked out at the airport interviewing
frustrated passengers as they wait in long lines on Thanksgiving
eve. More reporters will stakeout strategic positions on some
freeway overpass as hordes of vehicles head out of town. What
about you? The time to start planning is now.
The airlines have blackout dates around all major holidays,
so cheap tickets are out of the question, right? Wrong! One
way to avoid being gouged by the airlines and their inflated
holiday ticket prices is to book earlier. You will be rewarded
dearly with lower prices. If you wait until early November,
the price you pay for a ticket may double. And if you wait
until the week before Thanksgiving, youíll be greeted with
high prices, sold out flights or both. Those of you into last
minute bargain hunting are taking a major risk during peak
travel periods. The number of bargain seats are minimal at
best and if you do get lucky enough to find a ticket, it will
have so many restrictions youíll end up shooting yourself
in the long run if your flight is cancelled. Those carrying
so called bargain or cheap tickets are the last to be considered
when it comes to flight changes or being bumped due to overcrowding.
If youíre like me, I absolutely hate crowded airports.
To me, the day before Thanksgiving at a crowded airport is
right up there with having a tooth pulled without Novocain.
No parking, long lines, screaming children and grouchy flight
attendants are things I can do without. Hereís a trick I use
when flying around Thanksgiving. Rather than fly the day before
the holiday, try flying on the holiday.
Thatís right, fly on Thanksgiving Day. This works especially
well if your destination is two hours or less away from home.
Iím based in Los Angeles and my mother lives in Arizona. I
catch a flight to Phoenix and Iím sitting in her living room
by 10am. I enjoy the smell of turkey in the oven, watch football,
spend time with my mother and I donít have to fight airport
crowds. If you use this method, take a cab or have someone
drive you to the airport. There will be no parking if you
take your private vehicle.
When I return, I fly out on Saturday or Monday rather than
Sunday. Itís still a little crowded but itís a lot easier
than flying on Sunday with the masses. If you fly back on
Monday, you might be able to get a cheaper flight.
Thereís nothing worse than dealing with the stress of the
November book, then dealing with the chaos most passengers
must endure at the airport the day before Thanksgiving.