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Vacation Season Extends Into Autumn Months

August 4, 2006

Vacation Season Extends Into Autumn Months
August 4, 2006 – A new study from Consultant Sabre Airline Solutions shows that a growing number of Americans are extending the vacation season beyond Labor Day. Advance airline bookings for the September-November period are up an average 5 percent from this time last year.

"Boomers, singles, even honeymooners are changing their dates (from summer) because of the better fares, better values, better hotels and more choices for their money," says Linda Criswell, a manager for Dillard’s Travel, which has 60 offices.

AAA is also reporting an increase in autumn travel, reporting that airline bookings for September-November travel are up 23 year this year over last year, says spokesman Michael Pina. Tour bookings are up 14 percent.

Terry McCabe, an executive with Manhattan-based agency Altour, with 19 offices, says clients got used to fall discounts after the 9/11 attacks, when carriers tried to woo Americans back into the air.

Virgin Atlantic’s peak period for flights to London "has stretched out" over the last decade from the first week of September through the Thanksgiving holiday, says Bill King, who heads Virgin’s North American operations.

Advance bookings for economy-class tickets in the September-November period are up 10 percent from last year, he says.

At Boston Logan airport, passenger traffic to Florida and Europe is growing faster during September-November than in June-August, spokesman Phil Orlandella says. Travelers are waiting until fall to avoid summer crowds, he says.

Why is fall travel becoming more popular?

  • Shorter getaways. Taking long weekend trips to Europe, the Caribbean and Mexico is popular, McCabe says.

    More people head to Caribbean beaches to relax before the "craziness" of the holidays, she says.


  • Bargain prices. Deals are easy to find offseason, Criswell says. Examples: A Royal Caribbean cruise with an outside cabin is $1,175 per person on Aug. 2, but about $615 per person after Labor Day. Round-trip fare for a New York-Paris non-stop flight costs about $970 in August, considered high season, but drops to about $644 in October.


  • More events. Destinations are organizing more events to extend peak season. For example, Newport, Rhode Island, will launch a food and wine festival Sept. 28-30. Disney will offer fall theme park packages aimed at parents with pre-schoolers who aren’t yet tied to the school year.
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