Basics: Flights that reach Route 66
Unless you live in the US, Mexico or Canada, it is very likely that you will have to fly into the United States for your Route 66 Road Trip.
Even those living in North America may chose to take a flight to reach their Route 66 destination rather than driving there.
Flying to Route 66
To do so, you will have to choose an airport located close to the starting point of your Route 66 Road Trip and another near the end of your journey, for your return flight.
In our Tips page we detailed how to plan your trip, so you do know your Itinerary, starting and ending points. This will help you pinpoint the closest airports.
Below is a map showing the main airports along Route 66, and the major US airports as well as the hubs of the leading airline alliances (Sky Team, Star Alliance, One World):
Map showing Main Airports along Route 66
Some Airports On Route 66
As you can see in the map, there are two major hubs at both tips of Route 66: Los Angeles and Chicago, many airports along the route itself and others quite close to it.
Below we outline some air flights tips on ticketing, reservation and how to book a cheap flight to the US.
Flight Reservation Tips
Advice on Booking your flights
Are there Cheap Flights?
The tagline "fly cheaper" or "cheap flights" is frequently used to lure in bargain seeking travelers to online websites. However most of us eye such claims with caution and ask ourselves When is the best time to purchase tickets? below we will try to find an answer to this question:
Best time to buy an air ticket
The prices of tickets are subject to different influences: competition, seat inventory availability, sales and demand. Most of them are beyond our control and so is their impact on air fares, but, fortunately, a pattern does appear regarding ticket prices.
Expedia has sifted through the data and published a report (Air Travel Trends For 2015) which reveals that:
How to book the Best and cheapest flights
- Check frequently and book early and you will have a high probability of getting a good deal.
- Be flexible in your travel plans and plan as far ahead as possible.
- Although the lowest fares are usually blacked out during holiday periods, you might be able to get a discount fare if you fly on the holiday itself.
- Compare fares of different airlines.
- A connection (change of planes) is sometimes cheaper than a nonstop flight (you risk a misconnection if your first flight is delayed). Give yourself time for the connection and take an early flight -they are less likely to be delayed.
- Flying into an airline "hub" may be more expensive than flights into other nearby airports.
Cheapest International Flights dates
- Best Booking date between 221 and 121 days before your travel date. The mean value: 171 days prior to travel.
- Book in the last 100 days and you will pay more. Once you pass the 2 week deadline, the costs go up a lot.
- The savings vs. an average ticket if you buy it 171 days before departure: 36%.
For Domestic flights in the US, the lowest priced fares are found 50 to 100 days before departure; and the lowest fares are found 57 days prior to departure.
Best day of the Week to book a cheap ticket
Expedia's report was less precise: Tuesday is the least expensive day to buy a ticket if you do so 3 or more weeks prior to your departure date.
If you are buying your ticket less than 3 weeks before your flight date, do so on a Sunday. The cheapest day.
Of course, the margins are small, around 5%, so don't expect saving a lot of money.
Cheapest days to Fly
Those who can leave on Thursday and return on Monday will benefit the greatest savings on their air tickets.
Mobile phone check in, by JetBlue
Extra costs to consider
Airlines will charge you for:
- Checked bags
- Excess Baggage: check your free baggage allowance and weigh your bags, otherwise you will face excess baggage charges. Bags over 32 kg are overweight and cannot be checked in at the counter; they must be shipped separately as freight or cargo.
- Ticketing fee (if you buy the ticket on the Internet, by phone or at a counter
- Preferred seats. You may be charged for advance seating assignment (if you travel with your family).
- An early boarding.
- Beverages, snacks, video entertainment, audio headsets on domestic flights.
Discount fares are often non-refundable, so make sure everything is correct before making your booking.
Advice on Flying
At the Airport
Boarding Pass by A. Whittall
The deadlines for check-in figure on your e-ticket. You should be at the gate not later than 45 - 15 minutes from departure time depending on the carrier or if it is a domestic or an international flight.
Give yourself plenty of time for the Security Check, have your photo ID (or passport) handy. Carry only permitted articles in your carry-on bags (i.e. no sharp items, and limited quantities of liquids or gels) and place them in resealable plastic bags. Check the airline ⁄ country restrictions.
You are usually allowed one carry-on bag plus a personal item (briefcase or purse).
76.8% of flights arrived on time. US (Jan. 2015).
In the US, each airline defines how to handle delayed passengers. There are no Federal requirements regarding amenities or services. If you are delayed, ask the airline staff if they will provide meals or phone calls. If the cause of delay is bad weather or something beyond their control, you will probably have to take care of those services.
Airlines will usually rebook you in their next flight with available space. If the delay will be great, they will endorse your ticket to another carrier. But they are not obliged by the law to do so. During holidays or peak travel times, this can be a problem.
If you choose to cancel your trip due to delays, diversions or cancellations, you are entitled to a full refund of the unused transportation and any bag fees you have paid.
Only 0.56 out of every 10,000 passengers were denied boarding in the US (Jan. 2015).
Overbooked Flights: Selling more tickets than there are seats is not illegal. Most airlines overbook their flights to compensate for "no-shows."
If you cannot board a flight due to oversale you will be informed in writing about your rights and you will usually receive monetary compensation.
Know that if the airline is not able to get you to your final destination within one hour of your original arrival time, the airline must pay you an amount equal to 200% of your one-way fare, with a maximum of $650. To receive this payment, you must have a confirmed reservation. You must also meet the airline's deadlines for ticketing and check-in. An airline may offer you a free ticket on a future flight in place of a check, but you have the right to insist on a check.
Tarmac Delay rule
0.05% of flights had tarmac delays of 2 or more hours. US (Jan. 2015).
After a 3 hour delay (domestic) or 4 hour (international) you must be allowed to deplane. Food and water will be offered after 2 hours. Lavatories must be operational.
Upon arrival, check the screens for your gate and departure time of your connecting flight. Get to gate before it closes.
Collect your bag, check the bag tag to make sure it is yours (many bags look alike).
Lost or damaged Baggage
Take the items that you will need during the first 24 hours in your carry-on bag, they will come in handy if your checked bags arrive late.
Buy a bag with TSA approved locks: (see www.tsa.gov), the security personnel can open and re-lock them. Other locks will be broken if inspection requires your bag be opened.
Tag your bags with name, address and phone ⁄ e-mail. Place the same information inside the bag in case the tag falls off.
4.33 out of every 1,000 passengers reported a "mishandled baggage" incident in the US (Jan. 2015).
If you bag does not arrive or, it arrives open, unlocked or damaged, check its contents to see if anything is lost or damaged. Before leaving the baggage pick-up area, report the incident to the airline counter.
Have a written report issued and keep a copy. Your missing luggage will surely arrive on the next flight. Your address will be required for delivery.
You are entitled to a reimbursement for the expenses that you incur while waiting for the delayed bag (such as toiletries or even a change of underwear). If they don't provide you with cash, ask what types of articles are reimbursable and keep all receipts.
If a bag arrives damaged, the airline will usually pay for repairs. If an item can't be fixed, they will negotiate to pay you its depreciated value. The same is true for belongings packed inside.
If the bag does not appear and the airline declares it lost, you will have to fill in the forms they provide and cover their estimation of the cost of the items lost (not their original price or even their replacement cost).
Airlines can limit their liability for lost baggage, and on the Office of Aviation Consumer Protection and Enforcement, the maximum an airline pays on lost bags and their contents is limited to $3,300 per passenger on domestic flights, and $1,131 per passenger for checked baggage on international flights.
So don't place irreplaceable or valuable articles in your check-in bags. Consider Travel Insurance coverage too. Or, ask about purchasing "excess valuation" at check in.
Check the Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Report.
Book your Tickets Online
Screen shot of a London - Amarillo ticket booking menu on British Airways
We are in the process on setting up our online ticket booking service. Until it is up and running you can check the following airline ticketing resources:
If you have a choice, you can go directly to the airline's website and check fares. Compare with other carriers and book online.