A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

BBB Trends: Before taking flight, check fares as we enter one of the busiest travel times of the year

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there is a wide variety of options for people when it comes to shopping for the best air travel deals. The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is often one of the busiest travel times of the year.

That means the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are some of the most popular times for people looking for deals on flights out of town. This makes it difficult to know how to get the most for your money.

Do you book directly with the airline, or do you buy from a site that lets you compare prices from multiple airlines? Before paying your money and making a reservation, weigh your options so you don’t end up with surprises you didn’t plan for.

Is it Really Apples to Apples?

On the cost comparison sites, what seems like an apples-to-apples comparison may not be. Look at the costs and see if baggage or other fees are included in the price you’re looking at on the screen. Cost comparison sites are allowed to charge more than airlines if you decide to cancel or reschedule your flight. For a flight that’s at least a week away, airlines are required to allow you to cancel within the first 24 hours for free, but booking sites are allowed to charge for the change.

Pack Your Bags, Cautiously

Having a reservation with an airline doesn’t mean you have a seat on the flight – reservations from outside sites doesn’t guarantee a ticket. Some booking sites aren’t compatible with airline reservation sites, meaning that travelers have to miss their flights or pay fees to fix issues. Make sure any websites you use are connected to an actual airline and not a third-party vendor. If necessary, confirm your flight and reservation directly with the airline.

Problems with booking a flight should be reported to the Department of Transportation. Save yourself a holiday travel headache and read the customer reviews about the booking site you’re using on bbb.org.

Better Business Bureau

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