Flying for the holidays? Studies say book right now

If you listen to what a lot of popular travel websites are saying, now through Monday is the absolute best time to book your flights for holiday travel.

lhs ABIA holiday travel 02
Southwest Airlines flight attendants Charlotte Goodman, left, and Everette Williams, right, walk through a busy ABIA airport in December 2015. LAURA SKELDING / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

According to a calendar released by, Thanksgiving travelers will find the lowest¬†fares by booking either today¬†or Oct. 30 or 31. Christmas travelers should book Oct. 28, and New Year’s Eve travelers should book on either Oct. 28 or Oct. 31. According to Orbitz, you can also find discounted fares on certain dates through early November.

The Orbitz data also outlines the busiest airports for Thanksgiving travel, which are:

  1. Chicago O’Hare International
  2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International
  3. Los Angeles International
  4. Denver International
  5. Dallas-Fort Worth International

Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental comes in at No. 7.

So what kind of fares can you find if you book your Thanksgiving flight right now? Let’s take a look at some sample fares I found this morning out of Austin.

  • Austin to Las Vegas, Nov. 23-29, $89.20 round-trip on Frontier
  • Austin to Fort Lauderdale, Nov. 24-29, $191.20 round-trip on JetBlue
  • Austin to San Francisco, Nov. 24-29, $275.96 round-trip on Southwest
  • Austin to Monterrey, Mexico, Nov. 23-30, $286.25 on United

Yes, you have to wade through lots of blackout dates and sometimes fly at weird times, but if you have a little flexibility there are some solid options. Frankly, compared to some years, the current Thanksgiving flight landscape isn’t bad.

Need some help figuring out what’s out there? I recommend and Google Flights, which can help you narrow down your options. Happy hunting!