With millions of Americans traveling so that they can come together for the Thanksgiving holiday each fall, it is no surprise that the days leading up to and after Thanksgiving day are among the busiest of the year.
By tapping into its wealth of travel data, Travelocity has compiled information designed to make traveling this Thanksgiving as quick and carefree as possible.
The Busiest Airports
Rather than simply look at the airports with the highest number of travelers for Thanksgiving, Travelocity has examined its data to determine the five major US airports that experienced the most traffic during last year’s Thanksgiving travel period versus an equivalent average period over all of 2015.
By looking at this measurement of Traffic Above Average (TAA), travelers can see at which airports they may encounter the longest security lines, most crowded concession areas and the fewest available parking spaces.
1. Denver International Airport (23% TAA)
2. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (22% TAA)
3. Newark Liberty International Airport (21% TAA)
4. Los Angeles International Airport (19% TAA)
5. San Francisco International Airport (18% TAA)
While not all travelers have the option of considering a different nearby airport, many of these busiest airports do have at least one potential alternative.
• Newark: New York Kennedy, New York LaGuardia
• Los Angeles: Orange County, Burbank, Long Beach
• San Francisco: Oakland, San Jose
Tips From the Experts:
• Try to avoid booking on the busiest days – usually the Wednesday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Think about flying on Thanksgiving morning to avoid the crowds.
• If you have kids – think about booking a late flight so that they are more likely to sleep on the plane.
• Before getting to the airport, check in for your flight and pay for your checked bags online (you can do it 24 hours in advance) and be sure that you check your flight status before you leave home.
• When heading to the airport, try using public transportation. You won’t have to hunt down a parking space or pay for parking, and it tends to be far cheaper than a taxi. But if you do need to drive, call or go online to reserve a spot far ahead of time.
• To clear security as quickly as possible, be prepared before you get to the x-ray belt with your laptop out, shoes off and pockets emptied. And forget the jewelry until after you are through security and in the terminal.
• Remember to pack an empty (or collapsible) water bottle and ask a food vendor to fill it, or take advantage of new bottle filling stations popping up at many airports.
• If your itinerary includes a long layover, stake out a cozy spot to call “home”, or if you feel adventurous, get out of the airport and see some sights before your next flight. Just watch the time!
• Before you get to your destination, do some research online prior to departing not only to see if rideshare services are available at your destination, but most importantly if they are permitted to pick up at the airport in that city.