I know what you’re thinking. “Listen lady, it’s 93 degrees outside, the pools just closed down for the summer, and Starbucks is only in their second week of their extremely too soon Pumpkin Spice Latte sales promotion.
Well guess what, it’s also exactly 3.1 months away from Christmas and for those who travel during this joyous time have to start hunkering down to find “cheap” flight deals. Every travel blog states that the cheapest available seats are always offered three months in advance of your flight and midweek; Wednesdays, mid-afternoon; 3 pm. However, I have to debunk these consumer savvy myths because I’m here to tell you that there are simply no cheap seats.
The airlines are struggling behemoths that the general public both relies on and despises. This is now my third year of scheduling my holiday trip home from the overpopulated Los Angeles metro area to the much less populated midwest homelands of Columbus, Ohio. Over three years each trip has increasingly hiked in price, while my yearly salary stays frozen in place like Han Solo on a bad day.
While the prices rise during every new online session I begin to comparison shop, I cry a little on the inside and decide to monitor them for just “one…more…week.” (Side note, if you’re a savings fan and think that your repeated visits to those discount sites like Priceline and Hotwire will save you, they probably won’t. Erase your cookies, they track your visits and increase fares at the right moment of your desperation.) Flight cancellations, refunds, and general complaints are best done through your airline’s direct website anyway…and they surprisingly respond to these requests much fast via Twitter.
Now here’s where the holiday humbugs really come in to play; traveling with a pet. Between 2013 and 2014 pet fares increased 25-40% across all airlines. I should just bring grandma and grandpa home a real baby that can sit on my lap for free instead of their fluffy grandpup that has to be crammed into a small bag underneath my feet for 5 hours (when I luck out on a direct flight.)
Luckily, dog owners get to pay around $150.00 (roundtrip) MORE to enjoy a flight with zero leg room while the nice perfumed lady next to me gets to put her oversized purse in her equivalent space for free. (Side Note #2, If you want to optimize on that already cramped leg space, dog owners fare best sitting in the middle seat….just sittin’ bitch with my bitch. 🙂
So my plea is to our future independent airlines. I’m looking at you Google and Amazon. I know your drones will be flying me home sooner than later. Just provide affordable flights; don’t charge me extra unless Fido wants to take a pleasure cruise on the drink cart for fun, and offer more flights to Columbus…it’s a cool city, I swear.
My go-to flights are through Delta and Southwest, not because they’re better than any other airlines, but because they best fulfill my travel needs; location, times, pets, etc. Southwest is cheaper (for now) but Delta gets me from point A to point B quicker. It’s a Catch 22 each time.
This year, as funds are tight, I’d like to thank American Express for unknowingly sponsoring a large chunk of my trip home to get some Christmas ham. Using reward points was the travel option of choice, although I had my eyes on that all-expenses paid Caribbean Cruise. A flight home to the midwest will do. There’s always next year, right. ‘Tis the flight booking season.