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If you want to save money on vacation flights this summer, there are several deadlines you should be aware of. These are the dates when airlines quietly decide that the peak summer season is over and they lower their prices.
Different dates apply to different trips, on both domestic flights and jaunts to Europe. Let's break it down.
When airfares drop depends on the length of a domestic flight. For those flying cross-country or shopping for shorter hops, these are the dates when you can generally expect a shift to lower prices:
•Aug. 29: Transcontinental flights, about 2,500 miles (example, New York-Los Angeles)
•Sept. 3: Mid-haul flights, about 1,250 miles (example, Dallas to Washington, D.C.)
•Anytime: Short-haul flights, about 500 miles (example, Boston to Baltimore)
For many short-hauls on popular routes with lots of service and competition (say, Los Angeles to San Francisco), prices are relatively unaffected by the vagaries of the season.
Flights to Europe
International flight price-drops tend to be more city-specific. Here are the dates when airfares go down on flights from the U.S. to the following destinations:
•Amsterdam - Aug. 26
•Dublin - Aug. 26
•Frankfurt - Aug. 20
•London - Aug. 23
•Paris - Aug. 26
•Rome - Aug. 26
Two things to be aware of for extra savings on flights to Europe:
1.) The nonstop premium on these routes is about 20%, so you can save a significant amount by flying a connecting route.
2.) If you don't include a Saturday night stay, it could cost you as much as 40% more for airfare.
Readers, have you scored any late-summer flight bargains? Share the details in the comments section.