Finding cheap flight fares during the holidays requires a Christmas miracle of its own, but there are still some great ways to get the best price
30 October 2019| Last updated on 31 October 2019
Top tips on saving precious dirhams for your Christmas holiday flights
The festive season is well underway and expats across the UAE are looking to see the malls sparkle with glimmering Christmas lights, fill their ears with festive jingles, swap the lunchtime brownie for an indulgent mince pie, and head to one of the holiday events popping up all around town.
For other expats, Christmas offers an abundance of opportunities for a festive break from the sandpit, with many taking the chance to explore Europe's gorgeous Christmas markets or fly home to spend the holidays with loved ones.
Unfortunately, as much as we want to escape reality during Christmas, residents looking to fly out will have to face reality... flying during one of the year's busiest travel periods will no doubt be expensive.
If you want to bag cheap flights for Christmas, it's highly recommended that you plan when to book your tickets ahead of time. And of course, avoid December itself - especially December 24 to 25 - as it's been proven time and time again to be the most expensive time to purchase plane tickets.
Ahead are the best ways you can make sure you find the cheapest Christmas flights available.
How to find cheap flights for Christmas
Book your plane tickets way ahead
According to Expedia, the best time to book your holiday plane ticket is at least 2 to 4 weeks in advance, as last-minute passengers typically more than the average cost. The estimated time when plane tickets are slow is between November 23 to December 9.
Set up alerts for flight ticket
Throughout the year, airline fares will fluctuate and will occasionally present a great ticket deal.
Keep an eye on the price of your intended holiday route by signing up for fare alerts, so you're instantly notified when the plane ticket price drops. Waiting until the last minute will literally cost you quite the dirham.
Don't discount other airlines and airports
The airport and airline service you choose can make a difference in how much you spend on your flight. It's advised to look into other airports within your destination - the metropolitan area of London, England has six international airports; Los Angeles, US has five major airports; India is home to 30 international airports, and the Philippines has four international airports.
Super busy routes from the UAE, such as Dubai - Delhi, will be a lot cheaper if you opt for layovers with alternate airlines. For example, if you're flying to Manila, think Dubai - Kuala Lumpur - Manila. It may stretch your travel time, but at least not your budget. Being flexible is the key to snagging a cheap Christmas flight.
Avoid being strict on your travel date
You can also be flexible in regards to your intended travel date. It's a fact that the most costly time to travel is when everyone else wants to as well. If you want to travel on, say, Friday (December 20) and return to the UAE on Thursday (December 31), your roundtrip will likely cost a lot more.
Expedia's research found that the busiest time to travel around the world during the festive season is December 21. Additionally, travelers usually paid way less than those who started their trip on the Saturday before Christmas.
Be mindful of low-cost, budget airlines
When flights to your destination start to cost AED 7,000 for a round trip, it's very tempting to grab the cheapest fare available if it's AED 2,000. Low-cost carriers (LCCs) will offer incredibly low fares, however, chances are these low fares will cost you a lot more by charging you assigned seats, checked baggage, carry-on luggage, and perhaps even your in-flight meal.
It's best to read the ticket's fine print before clicking "buy" and conduct thorough research on the airlines beforehand.
Use frequent flyer miles or credit card points
If possible, grab the chance to use your frequent flyer points or credit card points to hack down your plane ticket price.
Speak to a travel agent
Planning and preparing for a trip can be both a time-consuming and costly affair, more so if you're traveling with other people. If you're too busy or would prefer to avoid fare-hunting yourself, consult with a travel agency. Sometimes a good travel agent can offer great deals on not just the airline ticket, but the whole trip as well including your accommodation, itinerary, and more.
Book your Christmas trip through a holiday site
Travel agencies usually come with an additional charge. If you're looking to build your Christmas getaway yourself, Holidayme offers affordable travel packages from the flight to the hotels and itinerary.
Be mindful of when to fly out for Christmas
People usually travel after work, when the school is over, or when the weekend arrives. The most expensive times to fly during the festive season is from 8 AM to 10 AM and 5 PM to 7 PM.
The more affordable plane seats are usually when we don't want to fly out, such as early in the morning at 2 AM to 7 AM.