Fly on Christmas Day? Why you should (or shouldn’t) do it

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Flying on Christmas Day is like the aviation world’s secret society. Few take part in the ritual, but those who do often swear by the perks. I have done it once for work, and I can see the pros, but think there’s a bunch of cons too.

Items on my wishlist

Sling Bag

I use this lite sling to carry my snacks & iPad mini / Kindle

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Stockings

These knitted stockings are a step up on the felt variety

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Packing Cubes

A small, basic set will meet most packing needs

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Pros of Taking to the Skies on December 25th

Cheaper Flights

Yes, your bank account will thank you if you book for Christmas Day. UK data shows that most flights are around 30% lower, compared to a day before or after, while US data (from Kayak) shows a typical round-trip US flight was under $400USD on Christmas Day. If you’re on a budget, it’s a win. My own anecdotal research shows the biggest savings in 2023 are on long-haul flights originating in Western Europe or the US and going to South East Asia.

Fewer Crowds

If you, like me, dislike queues and love elbow room, Christmas Day flying is a revelation. It’s not just anecdotal; it’s data-backed. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are some of the least crowded times at airports. You can breeze through Heathrow like you own the place.

Freebies

The rumour is that airlines and hotels are more willing to dish out freebies on Christmas Day. I think you’re less likely to be upgraded to business class if you don’t hold airline status, but you might get a free drink! However, hotels do get a bit more generous with room upgrades on Christmas Day. Make it easy for someone to upgrade you by being naturally pleasant to deal with. No grumpsters are getting freebies.

Easier Bookings

If you’ve ever wanted your pick of seats or ideal flight times, Christmas Day may well give you that freedom. It’s true that there is less traffic in the sky in Europe on Christmas Day, but you will be able to book last-minute more easily, and pick out your favourite row.

Cons: It’s Not All Tinsel and Brandy Butter

Limited Amenities

Traveling on Christmas Day means you might be greeted with a “Closed” sign more often than you’d like. Airport shops and restaurants may be closed. Pack your own snacks to avoid disappointment.

Weather Woes

In the Northern hemisphere, winter is notorious for weather-related disruptions. I had a fog-related cancellation in Campbell River, Canada last winter, which kicked my travel plans in the butt. Check out my practical advice for when things go wrong.

Loved Ones Time Trade-Off

If family or friend gatherings are your thing, forget about flying on Christmas Day. Your only company will be fellow travelers and airline staff. If you enjoy solo travel, it doesn’t get more solo.

The Final Call

So, should you fly on Christmas Day? If snaffling cheaper tickets and avoiding crowds tick your boxes, absolutely. But know that it comes with its own set of trade-offs like limited amenities and the potential for weather-related delays. It’s your call, but if you ask me, sometimes the adventure is worth the sacrifice.

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