Amazing airfares: December is the year’s final deal zone


I just looked up the cost of airfare for New York to Reno during Thanksgiving and saw round-trip prices in the mid-$600s. Then I looked at prices for the same flights in the first week of December and found a bargain: $202 round-trip.

Welcome to the final deal zone of 2018.

What is a deal zone?

Deals zones are cheap times to fly. Do not wait to buy a deal zone fare until the window is upon you – even deal zones require some lead time for the purchase, at least a couple of weeks before takeoff. For this final deal zone of 2018, you can shop right now.

This latest deal zone is neatly sandwiched between the end of the late November Thanksgiving travel period and before the start of the December rush for Christmas and New Year’s. The specific dates can vary a little depending on where you live and where you’re going, but most will be in the zone from Nov. 28 through Dec. 15.

Great savings abound

The savings can be terrific. That’s because airlines must fill seats during the lull between the holidays, so they drop prices. A lot. Here are some examples of round-trip, deal zone prices found earlier this week:

• Atlanta-Philadelphia, $101
• Chicago-Fort Lauderdale, $101
• Dallas-Denver, $83
• Los Angeles-Cleveland, $101

And yes, deal zones work in Europe, too.

• Boston-Dublin, $306
• New York-Stockholm, $286
• San Francisco-London, $395

How to find these deals

The best way is with a deal-searching tool that seeks the best fares during specific months or seasons. There are several out there; if you use the one on, set the travel period to “fall” and you’ll find lots of deals. Or just check fares on dates that are convenient for you, but always use a comparison site because your favorite airline will not always have the best price.

Prepare yourself to be as flexible a flyer as possible. For example, the biggest bargains may involve connecting flights with long layovers (though this was not the case in the examples above). Or you might have to fly weekdays instead of weekends. In many cases, this flexibility will bring you amazing savings.

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