Hayley Berg - Tue Dec 06 2022
~54 million passengers are expected to depart from U.S airports over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period between December 18th and January 3rd. That's 20% more travelers than last year and 4% more than pre-pandemic in 2019.
Nearly ~28.8 million passengers are expected to depart from U.S airports during the Christmas week alone, between December 18th through December 26th, which is 18% more travelers compared to last year and 4% more than in 2019.
Thursday and Friday before Christmas Eve will be the busiest travel days with 3.34 million passengers scheduled to depart each day.
December 26th, Boxing Day, will be the busiest day to return from Christmas getaways, with 3.35 million passengers to depart just that Monday.
Atlanta, Denver, Dallas Fort-Worth and Los Angeles will be the busiest airports over the Christmas travel week, with more than 1 million passengers departing on flights from Sunday to Monday.
Domestic airfare prices for Christmas are currently averaging $339 round-trip (down 11% from 2019 prices and 15% lower than 2021 prices).
International airfare prices for Christmas are currently averaging $1,360 (down 1% from 2019 prices but 30% higher than 2021 prices).
Christmas airfare prices are expected to rise $5 per day from now leading up to Christmas, spiking at over $10 per day in the final week or two before the holiday. Last-minute Christmas airfare will peak at over $400 round-trip for domestic tickets.
This Christmas travel season will see 28.8 million passengers departing from U.S airports from Sunday, December 18th through Monday, December 26th and a total of 54 million over the course of the entire holiday period. Airports are expecting 18% more passengers than last Christmas week, with 25.5 million passengers headed to domestic destinations and 3.4 million passengers headed to international destinations. A total of 54 million passengers will depart from U.S airports over the full holiday period between Sunday, December 18th through Tuesday, January 3rd, up 20% from last year and 4% higher than in 2019.
Airports will be crowded the week ahead of Christmas, with the highest volume of departing passengers (3.37 million/day) flying out of U.S airports on the Thursday and Friday ahead of Christmas Eve. Monday, December 26th will be the busiest day to return with an expected 3.35 million passengers departing from U.S airports. Travelers flying on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day will see significant relief in crowds, with fewer than 2.8 million passengers expected to depart each day.
Traffic will remain relatively high the week following Christmas as Americans head home from holiday trips, and others head out on New Years trips. For New Year’s travelers, airports will be busiest again Thursday and Friday ahead of New Year's Eve, with around 3.34 million passengers departing per day. Monday January 2nd will be the busiest day to return, with 3.35 million passengers expected to depart, the same as the day after Christmas.
Atlanta, Denver, Dallas Fort-Worth and Los Angeles will be the busiest airports over the Christmas travel week, with more than 1 million passengers departing on flights from Sunday, December 18th to Monday, December 26th. For the busiest airports, mornings will be the busiest for departing passengers across the U.S, so be sure to arrive at least two hours early in case of long lines at security.
Heading into the holidays many airports have been challenged already by volatile weather, from tropical storms in Florida to heavy snowfall in the North East. Passengers flying into or out of these major airports should monitor weather ahead of their trips in case of any potential disruption. Hopper customers should be sure to add Flight Disruption Guarantee (available even after you book!) to protect against missed connections, delays or cancellations they may face over the holidays.
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Holiday Travel Tips:
If you haven’t booked Christmas travel yet, book now! - Domestic airfare is expected to rise an additional $10 per day in the coming weeks, peaking at $400 round-trip for last-minute flights. If you still need more time to plan, use Hopper’s Price Freeze tool to lock in price now and book when you’re ready.
Be flexible on dates - The best way to save is to be flexible on the days you fly. If you can depart earlier in the week ahead of Christmas weekend, you’ll save the most and you’ll avoid peak travel days closer to the holiday.
When it comes to your hotel, it may pay to book a stay last-minute - You can often find good deals at the last minute, as hotels, particularly in big cities, will drop prices in the days leading up to the holiday.
Protect your trip against flight delays - During busy travel weeks, it can pay to protect your trip. By adding Hopper’s Flight Disruption Guarantee, if your flight is delayed, you miss a connection or your flight is canceled by the airline, you can immediately rebook your flight on any carrier.
Take the first flight out - Hopper recommends booking the earliest flight available, so you’re less likely to be impacted by delays from earlier in the day. As always, get to the airport early and if you can, add in a buffer day to your Christmas or New Year's travel plans.
You could save up to 40% on your next flight!