Summer vacation is over and travelers are beginning to set their sights on the holidays.
Cost-savvy consumers would be wise to book now, travel industry experts say. Fares are either up or flat in most cases and airlines are planning to pack planes to capacity, similar to last year.
The majority of travel agents advise booking holiday travel six months or more before departure, according to a recent survey by Travel Leaders Group. Thanksgiving is less than three months away.
Oklahoma City fares increased 8.8 percent in the first quarter compared to the same time period last year, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Overall, U.S. fares were up nearly 4.8 percent.
And airlines have been stingy with discounts.
“Fares are going to stay high and airlines are going to squeeze every bit of capacity they can,” said Karen Carney, spokeswoman for Will Rogers World Airport. “Travelers are going to have to shop around.”
One way to save is for travelers to be flexible about their travel dates. Karney said more travelers have been willing to fly on Christmas Day, for instance.
Southwest Airlines' fares are comparable to last year and the airline did not increase capacity this year, said spokesman Chris Mainz.
The company had record full flights in August and that could continue through the end of the year.