Cheapest times to fly: What you need to know about travel dead zones

Most people think summer is the one of the best times to fly. Kids are out of school, the weather is great, airline ticket prices are terrible. Wait, what?

Come on, you know it's true.

If you’re looking for the cheapest times to fly, try during a dead zone instead.

What's a dead zone, you ask?

It’s an off-peak or 'dead' period, because no one wants to fly then. Airlines still have to fill up their planes or they don't make money so they get very creative with discounting.

Here is the complicated scientific formula: Dead zones = cheap flights

How cheap is cheap?

It varies depending on the route. An example found over the weekend for round-trip fares between Chicago and Seattle:

--Peak of summer (July): $395

--Dead zone (mid-January): $297

So when are these dead zones?

There are three main ones. You're in one now.

--Dead Zone #1: November - Begins around Nov. 1 and lasts about two weeks. It ends with the start of Thanksgiving travel.

--Dead Zone #2: December - Begins around the first week in December. It ends with the start of Christmas/New Year's travel.

--Dead Zone #3: January/February - Begins about Jan. 7 or 8. It ends in mid-February with the start of spring break travel.

When should I ask the boss for time off?

Right now.