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All You Need to Know About Shoulder Season in Air Travel

You will often come across terms, such as “peak season” and “off-peak season” travels, whether you are flying to your favorite holiday destinations, or getting there via other transportation means. But, in between these two season types, there also lies another type, which is called “shoulder season”. This type of seasonal travel also has a lot of things attached to it, which many travelers may not completely be aware of.

In this blog, we are going to provide you an overview of shoulder season in air travel, what it is and when is the best time to benefit from it.

What is Shoulder Season in Air Travel?

In air travel, shoulder season generally refers to the period of travel between the peak and off-peak seasons for a particular destination. In addition, shoulder season also affects the cost for travelling from one city to another and the overall tourism in that destination.

Usually, the peak and off-peak seasons may significantly differ from one region to another, and depending on factors, such as climate conditions. So, airline carriers take advantage of this in order to increase and decrease their airfares and other costs, too, for example, services, upgrades, packages etc.

Shoulder season is a terminology commonly used among airline carriers and also, with regard to tourism.

How Shoulder Season Compares with Peak and Off-Peak Seasons for Travel

As you may already know that travelling during peak season, like summer or winter, can be quite challenging, taking into consideration the cost of ticket prices, availability of seats, accommodation in hotels and the crowd of visitors.

So, if you are travelling, for instance, to New York City in the USA during the months of April-June, which is usually summer, this will generally be referred to as a peak season travel. It is thus, during this time, when you will often find the most flight bookings, even done months in advance, and the airfares can be quite expensive.

In addition, since numerous travellers will be booking flights to New York during summer (peak season), you can imagine how crowded the city will become with regard to tourism.

On the other hand, travelling during an off-peak season, where there is not much tourism in a particular region, most airline carriers will still offer airfares and other associated services, upgrades, etc., that may quite not be reasonable for few travellers. For example, if you are travelling to New York City in the USA during the months November-March, which is 

usually an off-peak season, you may still feel that you’re burning holes in your pocket just to spend a few days’ vacation there.

If you are travelling to New York during winter, you will not see much activity, except on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, as these are the only two primary occasions that takes place and gathers huge crowds. Europe, Americas and the Caribbean expect tourists in large numbers during this time. Now, this travel period could be an exception in other places.

But, if you consider travelling to New York city during a shoulder season, i.e., in Spring (March to mid-April) and Autumn (September to mid-November), you will notice that airlines offer cheaper airfares, including other premium services, upgrades, and to some extent, may offer discounts as well.

This is the time when fewer people go on holiday to various destinations around the world. Also, for families with children, there are hardly any Spring or Autumn breaks. So, you will usually find airports less crowded with passengers and seats vacant in flights.

Since, there will be less crowd in the city during a shoulder season, you may pretty well, enjoy your holidays.

Is Shoulder Season the Best Time to Book Flights?

Well, yes. If you are looking for an affordable option to travel to destinations in order to enjoy your holidays, then a shoulder season is your ideal choice.

When you book your flights during this period, the prices will drop significantly. Also, if you are planning on staying at resorts after arriving at your destination, you will be offered reduced costs and there will be less crowds of people, too. As a matter of fact, many resorts offer discounts on packages during such times of the year. This also means that you can benefit from travelling.

As already mentioned above, shoulder season is primarily related to a region’s climate conditions. So, to whichever destination you are travelling by air, bear in mind to find out about possible activities in that city during the period. For instance, some cities may be great to visit during summer, whereas other cities may be ideal for visiting during winter. So, you will be left with the options of travelling during Spring and Autumn seasons as the ideal time.

Also, there may be cities that attract tourists during spring and autumn seasons. Thus, in this case, your best bet would be to travel to such cheapest destinations during the summer or winter seasons.


Travelling during shoulder season is a great option for travellers who need a time off, but can’t travel during peak seasons.

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