Holiday Best Days To Fly updated for November 1
As of November 1, 2011, the best (as in most affordable) days to fly for the holidays are:
Thanksgiving - November 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 29 and 30
Christmas - December 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 27, 28 and 31
You can see the whole calendar at http://pcln.com/bestdays
I just looked at tickets booked over the past month for the upcoming holidays. Nationally, Thanksgiving fares are averaging $407, which is 6% higher than fares for the same period last year.
For Christmas, the average fare is $451, which is 3% higher than last year. And the fare is actually down since the beginning of October, when the average Christmas fare was $475.
So, despite the fact that four major airlines - American, Delta United and Continental - reduced their 4th quarter and holiday flights by 2% to 5%, holiday fares have remained pretty steady.
There may be a couple reasons for that. One is that this year's holiday fares are among the highest I've seen in the last decade. Maybe there's a reluctance to try to push them any higher, especially with the economy being so fragile.
The other reason is that the airlines stand to make plenty of revenue in those "extra" fees for baggage, seat changes, ticket changes, etc. Smart travelers will avoid those fees by traveling light, sending packages on ahead, and providing the correct ticket information the first time around to avoid needing any changes.