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Flying on Thanksgiving Day

tenisghstenisghs Registered User Posts: 3,955 Senior Member
edited October 2005 in Parent Cafe
Since Northwest Airlines went bankrupt, they no longer offer cheap air fares. However, the lowest I can find for a Chicago - Detroit roundtrip with them is $160.

I'm not willing to take any chances to wait another week or two and possibly have to pay higher air fares.

Should I depart Chicago O'Hare at a 7am flight or 1:30pm flight? I won't arrive at either flights in Detroit until 9am or 5pm and it's Thanksgiving Day I'm flying on. The trip is 1 hour long.
Post edited by tenisghs on

Replies to: Flying on Thanksgiving Day

  • karthikkitokarthikkito Registered User Posts: 1,387 Senior Member
    The 7 am seems like it might work out better in terms of dealing with crowds. The majority of flights leave later, obviously, so you'd encounter more crowds later on. That and any delays would spill over and affect later flights more greatly than early ones.

  • dmd77dmd77 Registered User Posts: 8,663 Senior Member
    Flying T'giving day is not that bad. Take the 7 AM flight if you like your relatives, the later one if you don't.

    Have you considered whether a bus or train might be cheaper and easier?
  • my3girlsmy3girls Registered User Posts: 302 Member
    I would take the earlier flight because it gives you more flexibility when flights start getting delayed later in the day. I used to think that flying on holidays -- Thanksgiving and especially Christmas was good because of smaller crowds, but the past few years the flights have been full even on the day itself, all though people do tend to be in better moods than on the days leading up to the holiday. ymmv.
  • bookwormbookworm Registered User Posts: 7,741 Senior Member
    I've flown on T-day and New Years day, and earlier the better. The train idea is also good, so you may have more choices
  • tenisghstenisghs Registered User Posts: 3,955 Senior Member
    So should I buy the air fare at $160? (Before Northwestern went bankrupt, these Chicago-Detroit flights were only $120 at most.)
  • karthikkitokarthikkito Registered User Posts: 1,387 Senior Member
    I doubt you have much of a choice if you're looking to fly...
  • momsdreammomsdream Registered User Posts: 1,631 Senior Member
    Always check with the airline to see if they offer a voucher for the difference if the fare drops before your travel date. This policy varies by airline. USAir, for example, will refund the difference of the fare (via voucher for future travel) if the fare drops anytime between the time you purchase it and the travel date....and this applies to non-refundable fares. If you know you have to travel on a specific date, you just buy the ticket at a reasonable fare and then watch for the fare to drop (I use the website to check every few days). When it does, call and ask for the voucher. You can get multiple vouchers (if the fare drops more than once).

    I've been really lucky using this system and have squeezed three trips out of one by watching fares and receiving vouchers. The downside is that the vouchers usually have an expiration date (for USAir this is one year form the date of original travel)...but for a student who needs to fly back and forth, using the vouchers shouldn't be a problem.
  • simbasimba Registered User Posts: 6,092 Senior Member
    also think about your arrival time at the airport. You most likely will have to arrive by 5:30 and you would need some time from your dorm to the terminal + about an hr to get ready. can you get up at 3:30-4:00?

    In future, try planning sooner. I just saw that southwest has many flights with $39 CHI-Det fare. You get them only if you plan several months in advance.

    As of today they have 7:00 flight at $39, 8:00 at $48, and many flights for Sunday return at $105.
  • momsdreammomsdream Registered User Posts: 1,631 Senior Member
    tenisghs- buy the ticket. You can try shopping a little earlier next time around, but 1 month is really plenty of time and the deals you can get in the 1-6 week mark are often better than those purchased more in advance (the problem is with getting the itinerary you want).

    Try shopping for fares on Wednesday mornings (typically the day fares change - and they often start climbing back up by afternoon or evening).

    Shop for airfare directly from the airline's website - not through placed like Travelocity and Expedia (they are often more expensive).

    Use Travelocity for their email Fare Watcher http://www.travelocity.com/info/fare_watcher/0,,TRAVELOCITY,00.html (set a parameter for your departure city and destination and a threshold for the most you want to pay - they will email you when the fare drops below that threshold)....THEN go to the airline's website and the fare will often be lower than what Travelocity is advertising (just use Travelocity as an alert method).
  • tenisghstenisghs Registered User Posts: 3,955 Senior Member
    Thank you everyone.

    As a rule:
    1) I ALWAYS purchase my tickets through Northwest Airlines (or Southwest Airlines) websites. I have never used Travelocity or Expedia.

    2) I prefer to fly from O'Hare (Southwest only flies at Midway) because I live in Evanston. O'Hare is a 25-30 minute drive, whereas Midway can take up to an hour from North Shore to the Southwest side. The Southwest flights might be $20-40 cheaper, but I would have to pay a substantial amount on cab fare.

    3) I've flown out of O'Hare via Northwest so many times, it literally takes me less than 30 minutes to check-in my luggage, go through security and find my gate. O'Hare wonderfully planned the Northwest Airlines gates around the corner from security. Hehe :)

    So yes, if I took the 7am flight, I would leave my dorm at 5:30am, and arrive there around 6am. Traffic is very light in the morning in Chicago's northwest side.
  • tenisghstenisghs Registered User Posts: 3,955 Senior Member
    Hey everyone,

    I just found out that I can take a 10:30am flight at Chicago O'Hare and still only have to pay $160 round-trip! But, should I sign-up for the 7am flight? Either time, I get home at 9am or 1pm.

    Is 1pm on a Thanksgiving Day too late?
  • tenisghstenisghs Registered User Posts: 3,955 Senior Member
    Northwest Airline just dropped their 9:00am Thanksgiving flight to $170!

    Granted, it's not $160 like the 7:00am or 10:30am, but it's a big improvement from $200.
This discussion has been closed.