The best time to book a flight — if you want a cheap deal — is months in advance. Waiting until the last minute, especially during the holidays, can cost you.
For domestic flights, on average, buying your ticket 64 days in advance will garner the best price, according to a CheapAir 2021 study. Thanksgiving is in 22 days. Christmas is in 52.
You’ll also want to take stock of other travel expenses like parking at the airport, grabbing a bite to eat at your terminal and — if you’re traveling with your pet — the cost of animal transportation.
If you’re flying out of Sacramento International Airport this holiday season, here’s what you should know:
Where to book flights
Here are a of the current cheapest flight costs to U.S. cities including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago with a Nov. 24 departure date and a Nov. 28 return, according to Google Flights.
Sacramento International Airport —> John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York (JFK) – $484 round trip with Jet Blue.
Sacramento International Airport —> Los Angeles International airport (LAX) – $421 round trip with Boutique Air.
Sacramento International Airport —> O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Chicago – $511 round trip with Frontier.
Here are current options for Dec. 24 to Dec. 28, round trip:
Sacramento International Airport —> John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York (JFK) – $619 with American Airlines.
Sacramento International Airport —> Los Angeles International airport (LAX) – $168 with Delta.
Sacramento International Airport —> O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Chicago – $335 with Spirit.
Parking at Sacramento International Airport
All of the paid lots available at Sacramento International Airport are designed for passengers to park their car for a couple of days and board their flights. But if you plan to be away longer than three weeks, call 916-874-0825.
The airport offers several options at different price points, so be sure to determine what lot to use based on how long you’ll be away and how far you’re willing to walk. Here are the options:
Hourly parking – Terminal B
$2 per half hour/ maximum of $29 per day
This lot is closest to Terminal B, but it’s designed for short stays. So if you’re parking for more than a few hours, the parking garage or the daily lot are recommended — unless you’re willing to pay to be closer to Terminal B.
Daily parking (parking garage) – Terminal A Terminal and B
$2 per half hour/ maximum of $18 per day
Covered parking for Terminal A and Terminal B is available in the garage. All parking is available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
East and West Economy parking lot
$2 per half hour/maximum of $10 per day
The East Economy lot is credit and debit card only. A ticket will not be issued when customers enter. Instead, customers will enter a credit card or debit card when entering the lot and use the same card when exiting the lot.
The West Economy parking lot is pre-paid by the license plate. Therefore, customers have to pay when they park by entering their license plate number at the pay station located inside the bus shelters.
Shuttle services arrive in 25-minute to 30-minute intervals but it can take up to one hour from the time you park until the time you arrive at the terminal. Please note that the East and West Economy parking lots are farthest from the terminals and have no walking paths.
Parking reservations are not available.
Where to pay for parking with cash
As of Tuesday, cash is not accepted at the parking lot cashier booths in all parking lots at Sacramento International Airport. Customers who want to pay with cash will have to pay before returning to their car at pay-on-foot kiosks:
- In the parking garage and outside of door 1 at terminal B.
- On level 1 in lobbies C and D and level 3 in lobby C in the parking garage.
- On level 5 in lobby C of the parking garage and outside door 1 at the cross-walk to the hourly lot.
Checking your bags
Here are the baggage check prices for some of the airlines frequently flying in and out of Sacramento International Airport.
$30 – first bag
$40 – second bag
$100 – per additional bag
First two bags are free if they don’t exceed 50 lbs and 62 inches. Overweight items and oversized luggage (within limit) will be charged $75 per item one-way
$30 – first bag plus one free carry-on bag and one personal item.
$40 – second bag
Dining options at Sacramento International Airport
When calculating the cost of traveling, don’t forget food an coffee, if you need it. Here are the dining options in Terminal A and Terminal B. Just remember, airport restaurants are typically more expensive than those outside.
Escape lounges – chef-curated food
Freshii’s – salads, soups, wraps, burritos and juices and smoothies
La Taqueria – tacos, burritos and more
Paesanos -pizza, pasta and sandwiches
Peet’s Coffee and Tea – coffee, tea and more
Squeeze Burger – burgers
Starbucks – coffee, tea, sandwiches and more
Taylors – Selections by Vino Volo – coffee, sandwiches and snacks
Vino Volo – wines and small plates
Burgers and Brew – burgers and beer
Cafeteria 15L – American cuisine
Famiglia – pizza
Jack’s Urban Eats – salads, sandwiches and entrees
The Gateway Bar – sandwiches, small plates and drinks
For more dining options, visit the official Sacramento County website.
Booking pet travel
According to Pet Travel, a worldwide resource for pet travel, airlines typically charge about $125 one way to fly your pet in carrier.
If your pet is small enough to fit in a carrier, which goes beneath the seat in front of you, this method of travel by air is far and away your best bet for a safe, worry-free trip. Most of the major airlines are still accepting one pet per passenger at an average cost of $125.00 each way on domestic flights.
When booking pet travel, be sure to read up on the specific airline you plan to travel with. Here are the pet policies for some of the airlines frequently flying in and out of Sacramento International Airport:
Southwest Airlines – U.S. flights
$95 one way per pet carrier – cabin
Delta Airlines – select flights
Due to changing flight schedules in response to COVID-19, Delta banned all pet shipments in April 2020. But you can still travel with your furry friend in the cabin. It costs $125 each way.
United Airlines – select U.S. flights
$125 one way and an additional $125 charge for each stopover of more than four hours within the U.S. or more than 24 hours outside the U.S. Your pet cannot currently travel in cargo.
United Canada Airlines – U.S. and Canada
$50-$59 one way (except Hawaii) – cabin
$105-$120.75 one way (except Hawaii) – baggage
Those who choose to travel are encouraged to be vaccinated and to check local government COVID-19 restrictions, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sacramento International Airport is located at 6900 Airport Boulevard. Call 916-929-5411 to contact the airport.
This story was originally published November 3, 2021 11:38 AM.