Putting the Holiday Back in Holiday Travel

With airfare wars and blackout dates, booking plane seats can be daunting. Here are some tips to help smooth the way to Grandmother's house

Airlines are entering the holiday travel season in a deal-making mood. On Nov. 14, U.S. Airways announced it was making an $8 billion bid for Delta Air Lines. The proposed merger would create one of the world's biggest carriers (see BusinessWeek.com, 11/15/06, "US Airways Goes Full-Throttle in Delta Bid").

Last time we checked, Christmas still comes every Dec. 25, but airfares are a little less predictable. Leaving or returning on a different day may carry a lower ticket price, so travelers with flexible schedules are the most likely to save money on holiday travel. "Certain days are cheaper than other days," Parsons says. "There is no rhyme or reason." Nevertheless, there's no magic formula for a cheap and stress-free holiday flight. Travelers will have to weigh price concerns against convenience, check airfares carefully, and hope major carriers' deal-making mood keeps up. Otherwise, there's always the bus, the rent-a-car, or the occasional airborne sleigh.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.