Fewer holiday travel days will be surcharged this year

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The number of travel days this holiday season that are being surcharged by many of the nation’s airlines is down to just six from 18 during the 2010 holiday season.

Travel pundits have been predicting that airlines would charge a zillion bucks this year for holiday travel because the nation’s full fare airlines have parked so many planes in the desert. (Discounters, on the other hand, have kept their capacity pretty much level.)

The reality is that because Christmas and New Year’s Eve are scattered over so many days, travelers won’t really feel the pinch of higher travel fares except on select days. Tom Parsons’ BestFares.com reports that the following will be the most expensive days to fly this holiday season:

  • Nov. 27 and 28
  • Dec. 22, 23 and 26
  • Jan. 2

The more flexibility you have with your travel, the better you will do. Use the feature on Kayak.com that allows you to select “+/- 3 days” (click the link that says “My dates are flexible”) to find out how flexing your dates can save you money. It can make a big difference.

When it comes to junk fees on your baggage, those are even worse this year than last. It is possible to spend more on baggage fees than on your ticket itself.

Interestingly, I saw that Costco Wholesale has reduced the price of its big suitcase from $149.99 to $49.97 to get rid of them because nobody will buy a suitcase that has to be checked anymore! On the other hand, their Kirkland Signature (store brand) carryon is $100. So the giant suitcase is half the cost of the small suitcase. That tells you how much the airline baggage fees are changing behavior.


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