The Thanksgiving Day holiday is the busiest travel time of the year. Airport crowds are massive and those flights get more expensive for every day you wait.
If you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, you are going to pay a premium, if you can even get a seat. Research by InsureMyTrip and Hopper notes that domestic round trip fares this year are up by 12%, from an average of $288 last year to $322. If you can leave Monday, November 20, and return Wednesday, November 29, you can save some money.
And to help plan for next year, the researchers say that the cheapest flights are available until about 55 days before you desired departure date (average round-trip ticket price of $286 this year). Between 15 and 25 days before departure expect the price to rise by about $1 a day. In the last two weeks before the holiday, prices spike by $10 a day.
Then there’s the traffic. According to the researchers, here are the 25 busiest U.S. airports, along with the total number of departures during Thanksgiving week and the busiest time of day in local time.
- Atlanta (ATL): 1.38 million passengers; 8:40 a.m.
- Los Angeles (LAX): 1.13 million; 9:00 a.m.
- Chicago (ORD): 1.02 million; 8:00 a.m.
- Dallas (DFW): 850,000; 5:30 p.m.
- New York (JFK): 837,000; 5:30 p.m.
- Denver (DEN): 773,000; 10:20 a.m.
- San Francisco (SFO): 745,000; 9:40 a.m.
- Las Vegas (LAS): 636,000; 12:00 p.m.
- Charlotte (CLT): 624,000; 8:30 a.m.
- Phoenix (PHX): 613,000; 8:50 a.m.
- Miami (MIA): 610,000; 4:00 p.m.
- Seattle (SEA): 589,000; 10:40 a.m.
- Orlando (MCO): 578,000; 10:50 a.m.
- Newark (EWR): 570,000; 4:20 p.m.
- Houston (IAH): 558,000; 2:00 p.m.
- Boston (BOS): 499,000; 6:00 a.m.
- Minneapolis (MPS): 467,000; 6:30 p.m.
- Detroit (DTW): 464,000; 6:50 p.m.
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL): 450,000; 7:20 p.m.
- New York (LGA): 417,000; 8:30 a.m.
- Philadelphia (PHL): 392,000; 4:50 p.m.
- Baltimore (BWI): 387,000; 7:10 a.m.
- Washington, D.C. (DCA): 321,000; 4:10 p.m.
- Chicago (MDW): 319,000; 7:20 a.m.
- Washington, D.C. (IAD): 300,000; 4:10 p.m.