The holiday travel season is upon us, and that means people all over the Grand Valley will be flying to visit their families. 11 News looks into how to book your holiday flight without breaking your bank account.
So how can you score the best deals on plane tickets?
Travel agent Barb Johnson has been booking flights for years, and says it can be as simple as being adaptable.
"The cheapest fares are going to be if you're flexible," said Johnson. "If you can travel at odd times and odd dates."
When Johnson checked on a flight from Grand Junction to Washington DC, the cheapest fares were for United flights leaving at 6am or earlier.
At this point in time, being flexible may be the only way to score a good deal.
"For Christmas travel, they probably should have booked it back in August," said Johnson.
Although it's too late to get good deals on your tickets that way, adding more stops during your flight can help you save money on your trip. For example, on United.com, making only one stop between Grand Junction and Washington DC costs $916, but making two stops reduces that price to $587. That's a savings of $329.
Some travel experts say Wednesdays are the days you'll find the cheapest deals. We decided to test that theory. On Sunday, the cheapest fare we found to DC was $526 on Travelocity.com. By Wednesday, the price had actually jumped to $747 on that same website.
"It's hard to find bargains on Tuesdays and Wednesdays like it used to be years ago," said Johnson.
Does where you purchase your ticket from matter?
The cheapest available fare we found to DC was $594 dollars on Orbitz.com. Johnson says $615 was the lowest price she could find. The cheapest fare a United Airlines Salesperson could find over the phone was $665. On the United Airlines website, however, the price was less at $587.
To recap, you can find cheaper fares if you travel a week or two before the holidays and at odd times. Having more than one layover can save you quite a bit of money. Availability is key, so the sooner you book your tickets, the lower the prices will be. Finally, more times than not, booking your ticket online is cheaper than using a travel agent or calling the airline directly.