Whether you've got your heart set on carving a turkey with family on the other side of the continent or just popping down to Key West to raise a glass to the setting sun, it's time to start thinking about holiday travel. And I'm pleased to introduce you to your new holiday travel best friend: CheapAir's Holiday Cheap Flights Index. Tracking more than 11,000 airfares every day, the index cuts through the clutter and allows you to pinpoint the most affordable flights.
As you've probably noticed in years past, holiday airfares in the weeks approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas do a lot of yo-yoing. That can be confusing, frustrating, and downright off-putting to even the most seasoned traveler. "Our goal is to give travelers the data and knowledge they need to find the most affordable flights," says Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir. I think what I like best about the Index is that it turns those fare fluctuations into an asset for fliers: For instance, since the Index began tracking holiday fares on May 22, fares rose steadily until mid-July, then fell dramatically in the first two weeks of August. That amounted to about a 6 percent average discount on the peak fares of mid-July, translating into a savings of more than $100 for a family of four. You can also find out which holiday travel days around Thanksgiving and Christmas will be the busiest and least busy, which typically correlate with high and low fares. (For example, CheapAir is already predicting that you can save big by flying home from Thanksgiving on either November 30 or December 2 instead of December 1, the busiest travel day. January 5 also promises to be a crazy-busy, and expensive, travel day.)
Still nervous about booking holiday travel in September? CheapAir's Price Drop Payback credits customers up to $100 per ticket in the event that a fare drops after tickets are bought.