An Insider's Guide to Travel: News, Tips, Information & Inspiration

Budget Travel

Are Seasonal Flights Worth It?

Share on: Share on Google+

At certain times of the year many airlines offer non-stop flights from their hubs to popular recreational locations that aren’t available in the off-season. But are they worth it?

For example Northwest operates summer flights to Branson, Missouri in summer from Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Memphis.

In winter, American Airlines offers non-stop routes from Chicago to popular destinations such as Palm Springs, West Palm Beach, Vail and Jackson Hole.

But pricing on these flights is a mixed bag.

Say you’re headed to Palm Springs from Chicago.

You could fly straight there on American, or save $50 by flying United to LAX.

But with United, you’ll have to factor in a two-hour drive in a rental car and all the associated costs.

A flight from Chicago to West Palm Beach in January now costs $747 on American’s seasonal flight.

In this case, a better way to save is to fly on a budget carrier like Spirit to an alternate airport like Fort Lauderdale, which is about half the price. Yes, you’ll have to drive an hour or so, but the savings are significant.

The point is, seasonal flights are introduced because of demand, which drives down prices.

So weigh the balance of convenience versus cost and whether or not you’ll need a car.

And remember while you may not be able to book seasonal flights well in advance, you can at least start researching early.

Get more tips on saving money in our Budget Travel section.

Looking for more advice? Click here for more Daily Travel Tips.