Travel Deal Tuesday is the best time to book cheap flights, economist says

Lyla

If you are starting to think about 2023 travel, mark your calendar for Travel Deal Tuesday to snag some great deals.

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving typically sees about 50% more deals available on flights and hotels than on Cyber Monday or Black Friday, according to Hayley Berg, lead economist for Hopper

“We’re talking about savings up to $300 on domestic flights, well over $1,000 on international flights,” she said. “A lot of destinations are going to be discounted on Travel Deal Tuesday.”

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After Thanksgiving, most people have already booked their Christmas trips and are not ready to think about next year’s travel. Combine that with the major consumer holidays such as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, airlines and hotels are incentivized to drop prices the week after Thanksgiving to get people to start thinking about spending that money on travel.

Berg said travel apps like Hopper are also offering $100 off trips to destinations like Rome, Tokyo and Santorini, to help make Travel Deal Tuesday even bigger for consumers thinking about vacations next year.

Flight capacity has been a big issue for several airlines. If your flight is canceled, there’s no guarantee that you will get on the next available flight, Berg said. It’s important if you are flying in or out of one of those airports that will get bad weather over the next week or so to be aware of your options if your flight is canceled.

“Many airlines dropped change fees during the pandemic,” Berg said. “So, if you can proactively move your flight to the day before or even just earlier in the day, you might be able to save yourself some hassle if your flight is indeed canceled entirely.”

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Why is there a lot less flight capacity right now?

On domestic routes – think Boston to Los Angles – there’s almost the same capacity or seats available to book as in 2019 before the pandemic.

“But international routes have been much more slow to recover,” she said. “We have not seen the same volume of capacity available for travelers to book.”

It’s not just pandemic recovery contributing to slightly less capacity, Berg said. Airlines are also rebuilding staff in addition to facing a pilot shortage and handling equipment issues.

“Keep in mind that in 2019, Boeing delayed delivery of many planes,” Berg said. “Add on top of that two years of pandemic, many airlines have fewer planes than they expected to have going into 2023.

The good news is that over Thanksgiving week, specifically, airlines have built up their schedules and are expecting to see about 13% more seats available than last year.

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