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Latest FareCompare.com pricing analysis confirms cheapest/most expensive Thanksgiving days to fly

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DALLAS – FareCompare.com has released a new study from proprietary data based on the analysis of 1.8 million airfares for 100 of the busiest domestic markets for travel during Thanksgiving. This research offers travelers still shopping for flights over the Thanksgiving holiday fresh insights into the premium to be paid for flying on two of the busiest travel days of the year: Wednesday, Nov. 23 and Sunday, Nov. 27.

The answer? Travelers who choose to fly on those days could pay as much as 65% more per round trip ticket compared to those flying on Thanksgiving day – Nov. 24 – and returning on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

The FareCompare.com study also reveals that travelers who want to pay the least for a Thanksgiving trip should consider a one-night stand; departing on Thanksgiving Day and returning on Black Friday. The average round trip fare for that day pair combination is $367.

“For Thanksgiving travel, there’s really no such thing as a good deal,” said Rick Seaney, CEO and Founder, FareCompare. “It’s all about finding a better bad deal. And the best way to skirt around the edges is to take an early flight out on Thanksgiving morning and fly back on Black Friday. The airlines know many travelers want to fly the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day and the Sunday after, and they know they’re willing to pay more.”

The chart below breaks down the average roundtrip fare for 15 potential departure/return combinations during the week of Thanksgiving, priced lowest to highest:

Departure Day

Return Day

Average Roundtrip Fare

Thursday, 11/24/16

Friday, 11/25/16

$367

Thursday, 11/24/16

Tuesday, 11/29/16

$395

Tuesday, 11/22/16

Friday, 11/25/16

$406

Monday, 11/21/16

Friday, 11/25/16

$420

Tuesday, 11/22/16

Tuesday, 11/29/16

$425

Thursday, 11/24/16

Saturday, 11/26/16

$449

Thursday, 11/24/16

Monday, 11/28/16

$470

Sunday, 11/20/16

Friday, 11/25/16

$484

Wednesday, 11/23/16

Monday, 11/28/16

$531

Tuesday, 11/22/16

Saturday, 11/26/16

$543

Wednesday, 11/23/16

Saturday, 11/26/16

$549

Sunday, 11/20/16

Saturday, 11/26/16

$568

Thursday, 11/24/16

Sunday, 11/27/16

$600

Sunday, 11/20/16

Sunday, 11/27/16

$649

Wednesday, 11/23/16

Sunday, 11/27/16

$662

Further analysis conducted by the team of FareCompare data scientists shows that waiting even one day to purchase your Thanksgiving flights costs extra. Between now and October 31, the increase is approximately $2 per day and after Nov. 1, it jumps to $4-5 per day.

“Procrastinators will pay,” Seaney said. “If you know that you’re flying over Thanksgiving and see you a price that you like, book it. Don’t expect any last minute bargains.”

Other money and time-saving travel tips for Thanksgiving travelers courtesy of FareCompare:

  • Check your reservation: On the evening, prior to departure, check the status of your flight and make sure you are signed up for email/text alerts to receive status updates on your flight.
  • Get/stay connected: Make sure your airline can reach you in the event of delays or flight cancellations
  • Pack light: Don’t check your luggage – most airlines still do not charge to carry-on one bag and one personal item.
  • Get to the airport early: The airport will likely be crowded, security lines long, parking lots jammed.
  • Know the security rules: If you have any questions, consult the TSA Web site for a quick refresher.

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