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High passenger volumes and the possibility of bad weather are some of the realities of holiday air travel. With fewer seats available across the industry and increased demand by travelers, booking early is highly recommended, according to Dean Headley, co-author of the Airline Quality Rating and associate professor of marketing at Wichita State University.
Announcer: Taking a trip during the holidays can be an adventure. If you're traveling by air to go home for the holidays, be prepared for a busy and stressful time. Dean Headley, co-author of the Airline Quality Rating at Wichita State University, explains.
Headley: "The holiday season in 2013 should be just as busy if not more busy than what we've seen in the past. It will probably be stressful again. Fewer seats are available. Close holiday time this year – Thanksgiving is very close to Christmas this year."
Announcer: And Headley offers this advice: Let the flyer beware. Be smart and look out for yourself. Check in early. Leave plenty of time between connecting flights. Don't rely on the airlines to take good care of you. Be ready to take care of yourself. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.
Sound bite #1
Headley says the holidays always present a challenge for the airlines. The sound bite is 15 seconds and the outcue is "partly weather."
Headley: "When you look at the performance of airlines over the years, the November/December timeframe is always busy, busy. There's no question about it. It is a high stress time and the airlines just do not perform well during those periods -- partly their deal, partly weather."
Sound bite #2
Headley says with a limited number of seats available on planes, prices tend to go up for the holidays. The sound bite is 18 seconds and the outcue is "more about the money."
Headley: "The total industry system is constricting. There's fewer seats available than there were a year ago. That's partly due to consolidation, partly due to choice. Fewer seats, more demand, they can charge higher prices. The consumer is not being thought of first in this process. It's more about the money."
Sound bite #3
Headley says prices for flying usually go up for the holidays. The sound bite is 16 seconds and the outcue is "the price go up."
Headley: "When you look at the demand for this, the lower number of seats that are being offered in the marketplace gives the opportunity for the airlines to charge a higher price for the seats that are well demanded. Planes are full. There's no question about that. The more full they are; that makes the price go up."
Sound bite #4
Headley says flyers need to look out for themselves when traveling by air. The sound bite is 16 seconds and the outcue is "take care of yourself."
Headley: "As a flyer, you need to be smart and look out for yourself. Check in early. Leave plenty of time between connecting flights. Don't rely on the airlines necessarily to take good care of you. Be ready to take care of yourself."
Sound bite #5
Headley offers a tip for getting your bags or presents to your destination. The sound bite is 13 seconds and the outcue is "more on time."
Headley: "Make life as simple as you can. Pack light. If you can, ship your bags -- certainly your presents -- ahead of time. It's entirely probable that FedEx or UPS will get them there with not much additional cost, if any, and probably more on time."