If you like cheap flights, an excellent time to travel is just after Thanksgiving. It’s coming on fast, which means you have to make travel plans quickly.
1. When is this final Deal Zone?
It starts once the Thanksgiving travelers return home. You can take off Dec. 3 or 4 (or beyond) and return by mid-December (or earlier). These dates can vary a day or so depending on your hometown and destination but it’s best to wrap up Deal Zone travel by Dec. 18.
2. Why is the Deal Zone so cheap?
Easy. This cheap time to fly is basically a dead zone sandwiched between two wildly popular times to fly, Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s. Most people take their time off and buy tickets for the holidays, and most of them will spend two or three times as much as those who fly in the dead zone. Maybe even more.
Here are four examples. The first price is the cheap Deal Zone fare for travel in early December; the second price is what peak Thanksgiving tickets cost as of Nov. 11.
Albuquerque to Los Angeles (non-stop)
Deal Zone: $117
Kansas City to San Diego (non-stop)
Deal Zone: $207
Nashville to Philadelphia
Deal Zone: $39
Richmond to Boston
Deal Zone: $117
3. Some of these prices seem crazy, don’t they?
Yes, they do but these are not "mistake" fares, these are real prices meant to lure passengers onto planes during very slow periods. Something else to consider is that a lot of these very cheap deals require you to fly on weekdays instead of more popular itineraries that usually include travel on a Friday or Sunday. If you want to take best advantage of these deals, get used to midweek travel.
4. How long will these deals stick around?
Why take a chance? Book now. And when you do, be sure you’re comparing airfares as opposed to simply going to your favorites airline site. Your favorite – as cheap as it may be – won’t always have the best price, not every day on every route. If possible, use a deal-finding tool that can show you the cheapest itineraries during the weeks you’d like to fly.
5. Any last words of advice?
Sure. Don’t waste any of your savings on checking a bag. Carry-ons are usually free, but even on airlines that make you pay for them, it will save you time since you won’t have to hang around at the baggage carousel waiting for a suitcase.
Rick Seaney is the CEO for FareCompare. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.