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Flying For The Holidays? It Will Cost More This Year

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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Award-winning journalist Paula Ebben co-anchors WBZ-TV News at 6PM...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Getting home for the holidays will be more expensive this year.

Flights for Thanksgiving out of Logan are averaging 16% more this year. Nationally, they are up about 10%.

It all comes down to the numbers, according to George Hobica of www.airfarewatchdog.com.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports

“The airlines have eliminated tens of thousands of seats for holiday travel compared to last year, explained Hobica. “Not only are there fewer seats, there are fewer airlines. So flights are really, really full and the problem is that if a flight is cancelled, there is no where to put people.”

Hobica says the first line of defense for travelers is to have a flexible itinerary. “If you are really looking for a bargain traveling at Thanksgiving, the best deal is to leave Thanksgiving Day, early in the morning. You can be there for the turkey, and then leave on Friday or Saturday.”

Make sure to sign up for air fare alerts advised Hobica. “You can get emails and even text messages. Tweets are really, really great to get the last minute deals.”

Waiting for last minute deals might be risky, however. It depends on whether the demand is there initially at these higher prices.

Last year, airlines did cut back fares just before the holidays because they over reached on their increases, explained Hobica. Many people made alternate plans, such as driving or just staying home.

Some travelers at Logan Airport told us they have already made that decision based upon their review of this year’s fares.

For those who do take the plunge, there is also the concern of being on an oversold flight.

To avoid the chances of getting bumped, Hobica believes “the best thing is to book early, and to get a seat assignment early.”

He also stresses the need to arrive early. “Get to the airport three hours early and that sounds ridiculous for some people, but if there is a cancellation or a delay you might be able to get on an earlier flight.”

If you do get kicked off a flight, the federal government has increased the amount the airline has to compensate you.

Experts also suggest you consider alternate airports. For example, you might find a better deal flying into Allenstown, Pennsylvania rather than Philadelphia. Another example is to use Midway in Chicago instead of the much busier O’Hare.

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