How to Save 30 Percent on Summer Flights

PHOTO: All-New 2014 Ford F-150 Tremor

Did you hear? Samoa Air is adding something new to its aircraft - couches! Well, sofa-like seating anyway, but before you get all excited, the tiny airline (three planes) isn't doing it out of the goodness of its heart.

It's sheer necessity. Many Samoa Air passengers are reportedly in the heavyweight class and even the airline's CEO notes "some [customers] top out at 460 pounds." When it comes to airfare, passengers pay what they weigh, and that adds up.

Read more about Samoa Air's new "XL" class of seats.

So does the premium U.S. airlines slap on airfare during summer vacation season. The fares are high because airlines know we'll pay; it's when we want to fly. Blame it on tradition, blame it on kids are out of school.

However, these uber-prices can be too rich for some. I've even heard from a few folks who are once again thinking in terms of stay-cations. If that's you, don't give up. Not when you can save up to a third on summer airfare.

For more travel news and insights view Rick's blog at

It's all in the timing. Timing has a lot to do with the airlines' definition of summer. As far as they're concerned, summer is done, dead, kaput by late August. The governing factor: that's when kids go back to school.

Let me give you two examples showing how, if you can move your flights around a little - in some cases it's just a matter of a few days - you could save a bundle.

Example No. 1 - Domestic flight

First, let's consider a long haul flight, such as Los Angeles to New York. I checked prices recently, and here is what I found:

• Round-trip airfare price for 7-day trip, departing Aug. 12 - $536

• Same trip, departing Aug. 26 - $401

• Percentage saved with later departure - 33 percent

Please note that since airline prices are constantly changing, you may not get the same results by the time you read this, but chances are good you will come close.

For medium-length flights such as Chicago to Philadelphia, I saw savings of about 25 percent; on short hauls, such as San Francisco to L.A., savings of close to 20 percent. You can often find similar saving on trans-Atlantic flights, too.

Example No. 2 - Europe flight

See the difference just a couple of weeks makes when it comes to a flight from Chicago to Frankfurt.

• Round-trip airfare price for 7-day trip, departing Aug. 12 - $1,545

• Same trip, departing Aug. 26 - $1,157

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