Travel experts advise early booking for holiday travel, warn of higher prices

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Nina Pineda has the story (WABC)

Due to high demand for air travel this year, fliers may need to hitch a ride on Santa's sleigh to get to grandma's house this holiday season if they don't book early.

Even though many of us are still unpacking from our summer vacations, it may already be time to start booking those holiday flights. Forecasters are predicting a busy winter travel season.

Holidays are particularly difficult time of the year, the busiest time of the year to travel," Wichita State associate professor of marketing Dean Headley said. "This year, we will probably see a little bit higher price than we have in years past."

Headley, an airline quality rating co-author, tracks consumer experience, and he says that limited seat capacity and route adjustments from airline consolidation will make it harder and more expensive to book airfare this year.

"The airlines can simply charge more," he said. "It's a supply and demand thing. They can charge more for those seats that are in higher demand."

To combat the stress of finding that flight home for the holidays, Headley says you can save time and money by booking early and getting help from a travel agent.

"They have at their disposal any number of resources to check flights," he said. "And to avoid further travel hassles, try to book your flight in the middle of the week when the demand for seats is lower."

And if you have a connection, leave yourself plenty of time between flights, and choose layover airports that may be less likely to have inclement weather.

But perhaps the best way to reduce stress while flying during the holiday season is to keep your spirits bright.

"Have a little holiday spirit," he said. "Carry that with you just like you do your shaving cream. There's an awful lot of people who want to get to their families just like you. Don't take it out on the world. Just be a happy traveler."
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