Thanksgiving Flight Prices Are Constant Until Ten Days Before Departure - Hopper Research

Thanksgiving Flight Prices Are Constant Until Ten Days Before Departure

Patrick
By Patrick Surry
Posted Sep 9, 2014

Summary

  • With less than 80 days left to Thanksgiving 2014, prices for flights around the holiday are currently 14% cheaper than last year.
  • While it’s typically better to book in advance, we know Americans like to procrastinate, but never fear -  Prices were constant until ten days before departure in 2013.
  • Most people do not book their Thanksgiving flights far in advance.  Less than 40% of all Thanksgiving travel searches occurred before October.
  • Flight prices during Thanksgiving 2013 were 35% higher than non-holiday flights in November.

With under 3 months until Thanksgiving, many people are starting to plan and book their travel for the holiday. Hopper’s data science team analyzed millions of flights from 2013 and 2014 to help consumers better navigate the booking process during one of busiest travel seasons.

Despite outlets urging people to book as early as possible, the majority of travelers last year didn't search for tickets until a month before departure (Figure 1). Less than 40% of all Thanksgiving travel searches occurred before October, and only 60% before November.

from August to November.

Figure 1: Cumulative percentage of flights related to Thanksgiving searched in 2013 from August to November

  Fortunately, prices in 2013 remained flat up until about 10 days before departure, so those waiting until the first week of November to book still didn’t see much of a price increase. For those that neared the 10-day advance, however, prices typically rose 25%-30% for those looking to book up until three days before departure.   Figure 2: Average price for US flights before and during the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday as a function of days in advance

Figure 2: Average price for US flights before and during the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday as a function of days in advance

 

It is important to note that while prices for Thanksgiving travel typically remain more stable than non-Thanksgiving flights, airlines already place a significant premium on holiday travel. In 2013, Thanksgiving tickets were 35% higher than dates just before the holiday. Luckily this year’s prices are down 14% on average compared to last year, however consumers should be careful to track their specific market to find the best time to book.

 

Methodology

The data presented in this analysis comes from Hopper’s combined feed of Global Distribution Service (GDS) data sources which includes billions of trips per day.  Demand is represented as the number of queries not actual ticket purchases, and is calibrated across all GDS sources for each market.