Travel woes: Some still searching for flights home

By Laura Ory
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 22, 2005

If students haven't booked their airline flights home for Thanksgiving break by now, they better be prepared to drive, said Michael Glen, the UA branch manager for STA Travel.

Veronica Duncan, a travel adviser for STA, said she met with many students last week who were looking for last-minute deals for Thanksgiving-time travel.

"They're baffled as to why it's so expensive," Duncan said.

Though airline tickets may appear to be pricier, Annika Blau, a travel adviser for STA, said seats aren't more expensive than usual, but premium seats are the only seats available for those searching for flights at the last minute.

Blau said students should book their holiday travel four to six months in advance to avoid paying more money for premium seats.

If students decide to wait to see what their class schedule is like before booking a flight, they will probably end up regretting it, Blau said.

"There's only about a 2 percent chance that flights will become cheaper, so you're better off booking your flight right away," Blau said.

Jeremy Riesenfeld, a regional development junior, said he made his Thanksgiving travel plans about a month ago, but was frustrated that some of his teachers still hadn't decided on whether or not to hold class during the week of Thanksgiving.

Riesenfeld said he will be traveling to the San Francisco Bay area for Thanksgiving, and though he doesn't expect any problems flying out of Tucson to Los Angeles, he has experienced some travel difficulties during the holiday season in the past.

One year Riesenfeld missed his flight and spent 12 hours in Chicago, barely making it home in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

Riesenfeld said he also dreads having to check his bags because of the risk of losing them.

Megan McDowell, an education junior, said she booked her flight to Oregon right after Hurricane Katrina to avoid a potential rise in ticket prices.

She paid about $400 more than she usually pays for a flight to Oregon, McDowell said.

McDowell said she will have to endure a four-hour layover in Colorado before flying to Oregon, and she wishes she could use her cell phone on the plane to pass the time.

Finding cheap holiday airfare gets more difficult in smaller cities because there is less air traffic in and out of smaller city airports, Blau said.

Preeti Hoon, a pre-business sophomore, said she will be spending her Thanksgiving in Los Angeles with a friend. She said she was able to get a cheaper ticket by flying from Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix.

Only one person asked about airline tickets for Thanksgiving travel yesterday, Glen said, and he said he mostly sees students who are planning their spring break and summer flights.

Karen Garmon, a spokeswoman for Tucson International Airport, said passengers can ease their holiday travel by taking advantage of the Park 'N Save shuttles, allowing enough time to get through bag check-in and security.

There will be more than 14,000 passengers daily at the Tucson International Airport during the Thanksgiving travel season, Garmon said.

Garmon said passengers should also follow the Transportation Security Administration's Holiday Checklist, available at, which provides tips for airline travelers.