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PHOENIX -- If you plan to travel for Thanksgiving and haven't already booked your airline ticket, good luck finding a seat or a bargain.

KTAR travel expert Kari Mollan said airfares will be up by about 15 percent from last Thanksgiving and the only shot you have of finding a bargain is if you're willing to travel on Thanksgiving morning.

"If you don't mind taking a red-eye, look at the flights that leave at 1 [a.m.]," she said. "This is a great time to cash in frequent flyer miles."

Mollan said travelers won't be catching a break on prices over Christmas.

"With the holiday landing smack dab in the middle of the week this year, a lot of people are flying Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday and that is making it a challenge to find available seats."

Mollan said there's not a major reason, such as a war or even the government shutdown, for the ticket hikes. The airlines have a much simpler motivation.

"Because they can. People are feeling better about the economy and they want to travel and the airlines will charge a premium. Granted they will use the excuse that they're losing money but they are making a considerable profit."

Mollan said one of the best bargains out there right now is a cruise vacation.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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