DC to Paris for Thanksgiving? It’s cheaper than Tulsa

Holiday air travel is high this year, and last-minute bargains are few and far between. But that’s largely for domestic airfares. Even at what is now the last minute for booking, international fares for travel around the Thanksgiving holiday are not high.

“I’ve checked. Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Spain. It is not a holiday in France. It is not a holiday in the United Kingdom. And so for flights to Europe, it is actually off-peak. Late November is one of the lowest points of the year for international travel,” said Scott Keyes with airfare comparison site Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Those low European fares are available from the D.C. area.

“It costs the same right now to fly over Thanksgiving week out of Washington, D.C., over to Paris for $555 round trip, or to Tulsa for $555 round trip,” Keyes said.

Among Keyes’ other bargains from the D.C. area is BWI Marshall to Amsterdam for an average $508 round trip. Business-class seats are a bit more within reach for travelers with a larger budget.

“Pre-pandemic it was not terribly common to see business class fares between D.C. and Europe under $2,500 round trip. Now we’re seeing them much more commonly between $1,500 and $2,000,” he said.

Christmas week travel is still expensive, both domestically and internationally. But he said there are non-holiday bargains from D.C. airports in December, like Reagan National to Key West nonstop for $195 round trip, or Orlando nonstop for $108 round trip.

Keyes added that airfares in general have moderated since jumping earlier this year.

“This past spring, airfares shot up and got very expensive. But since June have started to fall and are now looking in line with historical averages. They look about like they did in February 2020,” he said.

Masks are no longer required to fly domestically or internationally, to the relief of some travelers and consternation of some others. Travelers aren’t likely to see many, regardless their personal preference. Keyes estimates no more than 20% to 25% of passengers now wear them, though that could go higher with the onset of flu season.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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