The 12 truths about booking Christmas flights

1. Book early. Flights are available for purchase on as far out as 330 days in advance.

2. Family meeting! If travel is involved, the sooner you and your family decide who’s hosting Christmas this year, the better.

3. Procrastinate at your peril. Flights between mid-December and the end of the first week in January sell out very fast. If you see a good fare, grab it. Like, now.

4. Good things do not always come to those to wait – indefinitely. If you wait (and wait and wait) for the fare you want, you may not get a seat at all. Christmas flights often sell out completely.

5. There’s no place like Plus. Book a Plus fare for extra flexibility and space (and doesn’t everyone crave just a bit more space during the Christmas rush?). And best of all – no change fees if you need to adjust your plans.

6. Everyone wants a seat at the Christmas dinner table. Hundreds of thousands of travellers are looking for a seat on a flight between mid-December and the end of the first week in January. Chances are, it’s the same seat you’re looking for.

7. Peak travel may mean peak prices. Everyone wants to fly non-stop on the last Friday before Christmas, the Friday before Grey Cup or to a sun destination between Christmas and New Year’s. Because seats sell so quickly at peak travel times, the higher-priced seats are often all that’s left.

8. Cozy up to your calendar. For a lower fare, consider flying early in the morning or late at night. Be flexible with your dates and days of the week. Flights for which there is lower demand may have lower fares.

9. Be flight-flexible, too! Look for connecting flights as well as non-stop ones to give yourself as many options as possible.

10. Widen your search. When comparing fares, don’t forget to look at other airports that may be close by. For example, if you’re travelling to Vancouver, look at Abbotsford. For Toronto, check out Hamilton. For Nanaimo, don’t forget about Victoria and Comox.

11. If at first you don’t succeed. Finding a Christmas flight that works for you can involve a lot of screen time. More often than not, the folks who get the seats they want have put a fair bit of effort into it – and reaped the rewards.

12. Pack your patience. When it comes to travelling over the holiday season, with the possible exception of your kitchen on Christmas day, there is no busier place than an airport at that time of year. Patience is a virtue that will never hurt you.