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Thanksgiving Travel

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart

November 17, 2006

According to AAA, more than 1.1 million Virginians will travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving. Many will be flying, and if you're looking for a last minute deal on an airline ticket, there may some bargains still left out there.

There are seats, and even some deals, to be had on flights the week of Thanksgiving.

But with the busiest travel holiday of the year now less than a week away, those seats and deals are few and far between.

"Never say never. Just be flexible and be prepared to purchase your ticket immediately," advised Kelly Bishop, the president of Cosmopolitan Travel on Arlington Boulevard.

Bishop has been in the travel business for almost 30 years. She said is you're still looking for a bargain on air travel for Thanksgiving, the clock is ticking, but it's not too late. And, she said, flexibility is the key.

"(Travelers) want to go Wednesday after work and return Sunday late in the day. It's hard to get a seat right now for traveling on Sunday, not impossible, but difficult, said Bishop."

Difficult and expensive. A Charlottesville to Dallas fare, for example, on the peak travel days will set you back more than $1200. But if you don't mind heading home a day early, you can cut that fair in half.

And just this week two airlines slashed fares increasing travelers chances of getting a deal.

"There are some special holiday fares being offered by the airlines. Delta reduced fares across the board earlier in the week, and USAirways offers some holiday fares that don't require an advanced purchase," explained Bishop. "So there are some seats to be had. They're few and far between, but it's still worth checking."

Flying out of other area airports, like Richmond or even Dulles, could save you some cash, too. But along with the bigger airports, comes longer lines.

"It's the check-in time at Dulles that you need to allow the extra time there for. You need two hours for security, and an hour maximum in Charlottesville. So we always start with Charlottesville and branch to Richmond, and then go to the Washington area airports," said Bishop.

Fares will likely continue to go up as Thanksgiving approaches. If you're having trouble finding a fare online, you can contact a local travel agency. They do charge a ticketing fee, but they'll often find fares for you that you may not be able to get online.


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