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Whether traveling by car or plane, this year’s Thanksgiving will vary differently from others in the past couple of years, especially last year. This is mostly due to low gas prices affecting 49 out of the 50 states. Unfortunately, Hawaii can’t get a break, but it’s obvious why petrol costs considerably more there.
Low petrol prices at the pump also help the airlines hoard more gas than usual, and this year has been a great one to take advantage. After looking at the most popular travel destinations by Conde Nast, Thanksgiving travel, whether to an old hometown (further than a 4 hour drive) for a family dinner or a tourist vacation, airfares are considerably pretty low, minus the most dreaded travel day of the year, the day before Thanksgiving.
As we’re about 4 weeks away, there might be speculation to why I am optimistic gas prices won’t affect the consumer’s wallet. Here’s why: Last year, on Thanksgiving, the average US gallon of gas was over $2.50/gallon – at 100% of gas stations. On Sunday, I read a statistic that only 13% of all stations in the United States are higher than $2.50/gallon. Furthermore, one of the highest jumps for a month in gas are about 50 cents per gallon (unless for a freak accident like a hurricane or a petrol plant problem) In Texas, gas has dropped to an average of $1.99/gallon, as of December 21.
Even if the worst were to happen, and tomorrow gas prices started rising, it would have to be the single largest increase since the 70’s and 80’s oil crises. When the economy was in recession, you would see steady increases. but never a huge jump day by day.
The gas prices don’t affect airline costs for short-term travel. Airlines hoard gas and store it in tanks at major airports, so any sudden spike can keep prices down via this method.
The airlines for Thanksgiving week are running specials through the roof, but obviously not on best travel days. While college kids and people who designate the week off can take advantage, last minute travelers for far distances would honestly have to get lucky, because the airlines will dump fares on some routes if the planes aren’t full. Discount airlines do this the most, and now major carriers are competing directly with discount airlines more than ever before.
Last minute travelers refer to those who have to work up to Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday’s airfares are collectively the cheapest. Thanksgiving day also is cheap for some markets, because not many people want to fly Thanksgiving day and then sit down to dinner. Also, area traffic on Thanksgiving day is almost a light rush hour in some cities.
As a travel agent, my recommendations are always to book one month in advance. Well, that day has come, and here are the most popular routes from Houston, Dallas, and New York
Airfares for Thanksgiving
As a comparison to help you understand the dramatic difference in airfare price, I’ve listed the cheapest date available the week before, the cheapest day available on Thanksgiving week, and the cheapest available for the day before Thanksgiving.
Since I’m lazy and it takes forever, here are fares from New York, and then Dallas.
Las Vegas – $142 [WB] / $151 [BO] / $252 [DB]
Denver – $124 [WB] / $156 [BO] / $272 [DB]
Houston – $128 [WB] / $145 [BO] / $200+ [DB]
Chicago – $41 [WB] / $51 [BO] / $191 [DB]
Los Angeles – $136 [WB] / $139 [BO] / $244 [DB]
San Fransisco – $139 [WB] / $142 [BO] / $239 [DB]
London – $287 [WB] / $291 [BO] / $371 [DB]
Orlando – $32 (via Trenton) [WB] / $99 [BO] / $212 [DB]
Miami – $49 [WB] / $84 [BO] / ] $179 [DB]
Kansas City – $105 [WB] / $106 [BO] / $202 [DB]
Las Vegas – $41 [WB] / $107 [BO] / $169 [DB]
Denver – $32 [WB] / $59 [BO] / $79 [DB]
Chicago – $41 [WB] / $41 [BO] / $59 [DB]
Los Angeles – $41 [WB] / $79 [BO] / $109 [DB]
San Fransisco – $69[WB] / $79 [BO] / $79 [DB]
Orlando – $41 [WB] / $109 [BO] / $139 [DB]
Miami – $40 [WB] / $49 [BO] / ] $79 [DB]
Kansas City – $41 [WB] / $41 [BO] / $135 [DB]
Toronto – $132 [WB] / $132 [BO] / $132 [DB]
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