With reports of rising airfares afoot, Cheapflights.com dove into its database of airfares to review price changes over the last month. By comparing the prices listed on individual routes for flights on sale September 11 versus on October 11, Cheapflights.com found 796 instances where the average airfare had changed. The average airfare was down on 390 routes, or 49 percent of the total, and up on 406 routes, or 51 percent of the total.
Cheapflights.com also looked at the 100 most popular routes in the database and saw that the pattern didn’t shift much either. Of the 100 routes, 86 had changes in the average airfare, with 55 percent (47 routes) increasing and 45 percent (39 routes) decreasing.
“While air travel is not getting any cheaper in general these days, don’t throw in the towel quite yet,” said Andrea Mooney, Cheapflights.com site editor. “Rather than assume the trip you want to take is suddenly out of reach, do your homework, keep your eyes open and book and plan wisely. If you are heading to the right place at the right time, you may even find yourself saving money.”
Of course, finding a reasonable flight price is just one of the challenges for air travel this time of year. As we head into the busy holiday season, travelers need to prepare themselves to navigate the crowds and chaos. To help, Cheapflights.com has prepared some tips for surviving the holiday travel season:
* Schedule morning flights— Booking the first flight of the day means you’re less likely to deal with delays and hectic situations at the airport. If you’re traveling with kids, it’s also easier to avoid the afternoon tiredness and get the flight over and done with. Without a doubt, avoid booking the last flight of the day – if it gets cancelled, you might get stranded.
* Stay healthy—You’ll need to think on your feet when it comes to making last-minute travel decisions – the last thing you want to be is sick. Start getting a good night’s sleep two or three nights before your flight, so that even if you’re up late the night before, you’re still generally rested. Lack of sleep can also make you more susceptible to getting sick from crowds of travelers at the airport or on planes, so get your shut-eye, carry sanitizer, and consider (with your doctor’s approval) taking immunity-boosting supplements, like Airborne or Echinacea a few days before your trip.
* Prepare a sanity carry-on—Layovers, delayed flights and long in-flight annoyances require instant remedies. Play the game of “what would you bring to a deserted island” and carry it on your back. Bring nutritious food like vegetables, nuts or cereal and stay away from things like sugar, that won’t fill you up or allow you to stay alert. Bring reading material, your iPod, cell phone and laptop for a mini entertainment system (and don’t forget the chargers). More importantly, bring a light change of clothing and any prescriptions you might need if you get stranded.
* Leave earlier than you think you should—Really early. So early enough that you feel silly for doing so. Even if you’re waiting at the airport for a long time, at least you’ll be through security and can unwind with one of the many items in your sanity carry-on, or explore the shops and restaurants in the airport. The priority here should be getting to your destination with as little chaos as possible, and the earlier you arrive, the more likely it is that will happen.
* Don’t underestimate WiFi—Use it. Airlines like American, Delta, Southwest, United and Virgin all utilize wireless Internet service in varying degrees and prices. Long waits and never-ending flights can be turned into a productive way to get work done or simply to surf the net and purchase last-minute gifts. For a small price (and the weight of your laptop on your back) you won’t be restrained to the book in your bag.
For the rest of the top 10 survival tips for holiday travel, visit http://news.cheapflights.com/2010/10/top-10-survival-tips-for-holiday-travel.