« The ongoing search for deadbeat parents | Main | Physically demanding jobs hamper retirement prospects: report »

September 20, 2021

Book your flights early, not late, this holiday season

It’s one of the greatest debates in the consumer’s calendar: when booking airfare, is it cheaper to get your tickets last-minute or way in advance?

Certainly, there is no definitive answer here. In my own travels, even, I’ve seen it both ways. Sometimes you see seat sales days before a flight takes off, other times a fare that costs X dollars to book two months in advance shows up as X dollars + $200 should you wait to buy.

This holiday season, though, maybe there’s no debate. By most every industry expert’s take, buy early this year, and don’t even think twice.

According to a new report on, waiting too late to book your holiday flights this year could cost you as much as 20-30 per cent more on the ticket price.

“Travelers typically book in the last 30 days before the holidays,” FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney tells the news site. “They can’t get away with that this year.”

Indeed, it appears the writing is on the wall for travelers wondering when to book their trips during the rest of 2010. Many airlines have cut capacity by as much as 12-15 per cent since 2008, says CNN, meaning more planes are crowded and will surely be packed come holiday time.

More to the point, any savvy traveler will tell you the cheapest fares come on flights during the week; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, that kind of thing.

This year, however, with Christmas falling on a Saturday, airlines are likely to levy nasty premiums on those usually-inexpensive flight days leading up to Santa Claus. So, not only will you have pricey weekend fares the week before Christmas, but costly too will tickets be on those mid-week days normally reserved for budget fliers.

According to FareCompare, book ahead this season so you miss these flight dates, which will almost certainly be jacked up by airlines to raise their bottom lines: December 17th to 24th, and December 26th to January 3rd. FareCompare says expect “peak travel surcharges” of at least $30 on several of those dates, in addition to higher base ticket prices.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...