This an updated version of a post that originally ran Nov. 30, 2015. The story now includes more recent flight trends and airfare promotions.
Some of the best deals shoppers will find Cyber Monday will have nothing to do with laptops, clothes or toys.
Airlines are expected to join the fray by launching flash sales on airfare.
The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, usually considered one of the slowest travel periods of the year, are actually some of the best periods for finding good deals on flights, says Patrick Surry, chief data scientist for the airfare tracker app Hopper. That’s because airlines tend to introduce cheaper flights during that time to encourage consumers to spend more on travel, he says.
“Those are times when consumers are not thinking about plane tickets,” Surry says, “because they’ve already traveled for Thanksgiving and they may have already booked their Christmas flight.”
Hopper analyzed airfare trends from 2015 to keep track of discounts on airfare.
Some of the sales, like most other Cyber Monday promotions, have been advertised online and through emails. But some deals won’t be promoted at all, leaving it up to travelers to search regularly for flights and set up alerts to be notified when fares drop, Surry says.
Travelers will find lower fares will be for trips in December before Christmas or for early next year leading up to mid-February, as airlines work to fill up planes during that slow travel period. “You’re not going to find a deal to get home for Christmas,” Surry says.
Some of the deals could also be for travel later next year, he says. For example, travel to Europe and the Caribbean has been down this year, so some airlines may lower airfare to help fill up those flights, Surry says.
Earlier in the fall, some airlines offered flash sales to Saint Lucia for about $480, or nearly 40 percent cheaper than normal, according to Hopper. Some flights to Amsterdam were priced at $644 round trip, or 30 percent off. Travelers could see more of those types of deals starting Cyber Monday, he says.
People who see good deals should act quickly, because space is likely to be limited and low prices probably won’t last, says George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com, a flight comparison website. “Just book it and cancel later,” he says, adding that most airlines allow people to cancel reservations within 24 hours of booking.