Z, who traveled back to Beijing for his winter break, said that on both legs of his trip, the plane was filled with mostly mainland Chinese students studying in the USA, going home for the holidays. I was horror-filled to discover that the economy saver seats (read: cheap) on direct flights between the the airport from which Z flies out of to Beijing were already full for the May flights (which is when the college semester ends for many). So Z will have to make one transit stop on his way "home".
I have just booked our trip for the summer. We travel in June, peak travel period, and I do not want to be left in a lurch with no tickets or stupendously expensive tickets if I book them too late. The early bird, in this case, truly gets the worm.