MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The holidays are right around the corner, and Christmas is less than 50 days away.
Airfare can sometimes be fickle and unpredictable. We were told that last weekend was the best time to book your holiday flights because you'd get the best deals. Well, prices went down soon afterwards.
But if you're looking to still buy your holiday tickets, here is some advice. The cheapest days to fly domestic are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. And aim for red-eye or overnight flights, those tend to be cheaper.
MYR was recently ranked as one of the most affordable airports. So WMBF News tested it out for some holiday travel prices. Let's say you want to fly roundtrip to New York-LaGuardia for Thanksgiving. Right now, according to our research, it's cheapest to fly out of Charleston, but only by $14.50, making the ticket out of MYR look just as good.
For Christmas, since we're farther out, the prices are much better, and MYR clearly wins the ticket price. But remember, these are prices without baggage fees.
"We checked prices online and found out that Charleston International was so much higher than Myrtle Beach here. It's only an hour and a half drive from Mount Pleasant. And we enjoy coming up to Myrtle Beach a couple times a year. So it worked out just fine for us," says Mike Savinda, from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
FareCompare's data shows that the best time to book a domestic flight is Tuesday at 3 p.m. eastern time. Sounds ridiculous, right? According to their research, airlines typically launch sales late Monday or very early the next day. So we start to see them on Tuesday morning. Then airlines that compete on the same routes will start launching deeper discounts. So sale prices will solidify around Tuesday afternoon. A good tip is to sign up for airfare alerts, so you can easily track to see when it hits a good price.
Passenger volumes at MYR are up. The most recent numbers they have are from September. This September from September 2013, we're up 4 percent. From 2012, we're up 21 percent. And when it comes to airfare, in the second quarter, the average one-way ticket excluding taxes was $120. That's cheaper than what it was in 2013 and 2012.
Kirk Lovell, the spokesperson for the Horry County department of airports, says they continue to make improvements at the MYR airport. One of the biggest projects they have going right now is the runway construction, and it's right on schedule. They started in August and are supposed to be completely done in March of 2015.
Right now, they have the first layer of asphalt down. Now they're working on paving the second layer. They've been doing this work overnight when they can close everything off to air traffic. The major part of the paving should be done this month. But from November 25 through the 30, they will stop the construction so they can be at full capacity for holiday travel and not cause any delays. Then they'll kick back up with the overnight closures and construction in December. This project is slated to cost $20 million.
They're also renovating new gates that haven't been used for about a year now. Those gates should be open in May of 2015, just in time for the busy summer season. Travelers tell WMBF News the hope this leads to even more improvements in the future.
"I got a seven hour wait. I have to wait that long because there's no other flights going. If they get another carrier I could probably get something going into Chicago which is United's hub. So if they bring in other carriers, I could see the advantages for travelers," says Thomas Eddy, from Modesto, California.
On Friday recommendations will be made to the County Administrator about the design build for Concourse B, including improvements to the building facade and parking lot. They want to make it look cohesive with the new design of the new terminal. Lovell says there could be a decision next year on what to do with the old ticketing area.
And there are other projects going on at the other Horry County airports. At Conway's airport, they're building new hangars. Those should be done in December and they're looking for tenants now. At the Grand Strand Airport they're rehabbing the ramps. That's where they park the planes.?