Book holiday airline tickets this week, expert says: It's the 'sweet spot'

Last-minute Thanksgiving airline tickets could surge over $400 on average

Travelers seeking to get away for the holidays this year should book this week, one industry expert says.  

"Where we are is what I consider the sweet spot of holiday travel," Hayley Berg, lead economist of travel app Hopper, told FOX Business. 

Berg said holiday airline prices tend to be "very high" in the summer because carriers are capitalizing on consumers who need to plan far in advance for the holidays and have their trips booked by July. 

In early fall, prices typically dip, she added. But, in mid-October, prices tend to drop to their lowest because demand hasn't fully picked back up again for holiday flights, and "all of the super not price sensitive travelers who booked earlier are out of the picture." 


"So, there is this moment of lower demand and lower prices, which makes it the best time for travelers to take advantage of low prices," Berg added.  

On top of that, Berg said airlines "are much more likely" to run travel deals right before any uptick in demand. 

Delta air Lines

Travelers move through the ticketing area of Delta Air Lines in Chicago on Jan. 12, 2016. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

As of Monday, a domestic flight over the Thanksgiving holiday is estimated to cost $274 for a round trip, which is already up 19% from 2021, according to Hopper data. Meanwhile, an international flight is estimated to cost $806 for a round-trip over Thanksgiving, which is nearly 40% higher compared with the same time last year. 

For Christmas, domestic airfare is estimated to cost $390 per round-trip, up 40% from 2021 and international airfare is estimated to cost $1,301 round-trip, up nearly 60% from 2021, according to the travel app.  

air travel

Air travelers collect their checked baggage at Newark International Airport on October 27, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Starting next week, prices for Thanksgiving will start to increase by $10 to $15 per week, Berg said. As the holidays get even closer, prices will increase an average of $10 to $15 a day.


Actual flight prices are "going to be quite significantly more expensive, increasing by significantly more," she said. "So, I will keep in mind that the average really means… the middle and there are going to be travelers paying significantly more where prices are going to rise." 

Alaska Airlines

Travelers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport check the status of flights, including a few that were canceled, on displays inside a gate terminal, Friday, April 1, 2022 in Seattle.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren / AP Newsroom)

For last-minute Thanksgiving tickets, Hopper estimated that prices may increase by more than $400 on average. Additionally, last-minute tickets for the Christmas holiday are likely to increase by over $500 on average. 

However, booking last minute might not be an option given the demand this holiday season. 


"If you're booking last minute or even a month out from a holiday, it's possible flights will already be booked solid or the only seat on that flight will be extremely expensive, so it eliminates that as an option for the traveler," Berg added. 

If people need to book specific days or airlines, they "need to be booking now because both are going to sell out this holiday season," she said.