Priceline.com fare-watchers has a report out showing that travelers will be paying more to travel this year over the holidays. The company shows that the average national airfare is up about 3% for the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons for 2012 versus 2011.
It is important to keep in mind that this is still about 7 weeks from Thanksgiving and about 11 weeks ahead of Christmas. That being said, the lower number of total seats and flights may keep a floor under the current prices for traveling in the holidays.
Priceline showed that the nationwide domestic airfare average is $393 for Thanksgiving and $430 for Christmas. Those averages were $382 and $420 a year ago, respectively. Today’s figures were based upon average airfares of published-price domestic round-trip airline tickets already purchased by customers for holiday 2012 travel.
Another issue noted in the lower number of available seats and flight reductions was airline mergers. The report goes on to say, “That reduces the chances that holiday fares are going to drop. Travelers who already know their holiday plans would be wise to book well before Halloween in order to get the most choice in flights and seats.”
Priceline claims that it is seeing travelers save 20% or more off of the published airfares by bidding on their holiday tickets, but of course that may be more self-serving. Still, Priceline claims that the 20% savings seen now is about double what it saw in 2011.
JON C. OGG