2019 Holiday Season: Busiest Airports

The holiday travel season is just around the corner, with over 30 million passengers getting away for Thanksgiving and Christmas, respectively.

Hayley Berg - Nov. 11, 2019

Summary

  • More than 30 million travelers are expected to pass through US airports over the course of the Thanksgiving holiday week, nearly 1.8% more traffic than in 2018

  • Airports will be packed with travelers the week leading up to Thanksgiving, with 3 million or more seats departing from airports across the country each day until Thanksgiving day. Sunday following Thanksgiving will be the busiest travel day, with 3.4 million seats departing as travelers head home from their Thanksgiving getaways.

  • More than 31 million travelers are expected to pass through US airports over the course of the Christmas holiday, almost 0.7% more traffic than in 2018

  • Capacity over the Christmas holiday is more evenly spread, with an average of 3.2 million seats departing daily beginning Saturday, December 21st through the end of the holiday week. 

  • Atlanta (ATL), Los Angeles (LAX) and Chicago O’Hare (ORD) will be the busiest airports over both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, as they expect to see well over 1 million passengers departing from their tarmacs the week of Thanksgiving, and close to 2 million passengers departing the week of Christmas. 

  • Airports are likely to be the busiest in the morning during these holiday weeks, so plan ahead with plenty of extra time getting through security.

Passenger Capacity

Capacity at the end of 2019 will peak over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, with 30 million and 31 million seats departing for domestic flights the week of each holiday respectively. Many travelers will be packing up their passports, with 3.8 million seats departing for international destinations the week of Thanksgiving and 4.3 million the week of Christmas. Expected capacity in 2019 remains higher than in 2018, but expectations for capacity over the holidays have been lowered compared to earlier this year due to the grounding of the 737 Max planes.

HolidayTrafficReport-Nov2019Thanksgiving CapacityHolidayTrafficReport-Nov2019Christmas Capacity

Thanksgiving

Airports will be packed with travelers the week leading up to Thanksgiving, with 3+ million seats departing from airports across the country each day until Thanksgiving day. Sunday will be the busiest travel day, with 3.4 million seats departing as travelers head home from their Thanksgiving getaways.

HolidayTrafficReport-Nov2019Thanksgiving ExpectedDepartingPassengers

Christmas

Capacity over the Christmas holiday is more evenly spread, with an average of 3.2 million seats departing daily beginning Friday, December 20th through the end of the holiday week. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be the lightest travel days with only 2.6-2.7 million passengers flying.

HolidayTrafficReport-Nov2019Christmas ExpectedDepartingPassengers

Busiest Airports & Times

HolidayTrafficReport-Nov2019Thanksgiving BusiestAirportsHolidayTrafficReport-Nov2019Christmas BusiestAirports

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