2009 offers better online travel deals

Bing Travel has concluded that 2009 holds better travel deals

Fareologists at Bing Travel today issued a preliminary outlook for the 2009 holiday travel season, uncovering a holiday season that is distinctly more traveler-friendly than 2008.

This year, airfare for Thanksgiving travel to domestic destinations averages $327, down 22 percent from 2008 and virtually on par with 2007 fares. Christmas and New Year’s holiday airfare to domestic destinations averages $353, down 17 percent from this point in 2008, but still about 8 percent above 2007 fares.

“In last year’s holiday travel forecast I talked about the ‘perfect storm’ of record-high oil prices, fuel surcharges and very high airfare. Oh, how quickly things change,” said Bing Travel Fareologist Joel Grus. “As the economy fell into recession last fall, fares came down dramatically and have remained low through 2009. Airlines have cut capacity to the point that we will see pretty full planes, but at least for now, fares are still depressed. Early signs of a rebounding economy could increase consumer demand, pushing fares back up.”

Nationally, the average ticket for the most popular Thanksgiving itinerary — Wednesday departure, Sunday return — is $375, down $122 from last year. Travelers who can stay flexible with their Thanksgiving travel dates may be rewarded with savings; returning on Monday instead of Sunday can yield a savings of $35 per ticket.

Nationally, the ticket for the most popular Christmas itinerary — Wednesday departure, Sunday return — could cost $353 on average, down $49 from 2008. The opportunities for saving a significant amount by shifting travel a day or two are minimal for Christmas, except for traveling on Christmas Day, which saves about $45 per ticket.

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2009 offers better online travel deals