Get Ready For Big Crowds At The Airports This Thanksgiving

Patrick Surry - Jan. 31, 2016


  • The usual suspects of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago top the list of busy airports this Thanksgiving
  • Las Vegas, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale will have the biggest influx of visitors over Thanksgiving
  • Boston, DC, and San Francisco have the largest exodus over the holidays
  • Check out our interactive Thanksgiving Air Travel Map
  • Wednesday will be the busiest day to travel next week. Of the Thanksgiving weekdays, about 19% of travelers will depart on Monday, 25% depart on Tuesday, 28% depart on Wednesday, 17% depart on Thursday, 11% depart on Friday

Thanksgiving is just a week away so Hopper's data science team decided to analyze what this year's Thanksgiving air travel patterns will look like.

To demonstrate which airports will be the most congested this Thanksgiving, Hopper analyzed this year’s flight search data to create a Thanksgiving Air Travel map. Click on the map to see the animated version which shows the airports' popularity by departures and arrivals. You can also find the animated version here:

Hopper’s Thanksgiving Air Travel Map

(Click on the map for the interactive version)

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 10.56.50 AM

The map shows the 20 busiest airports this Thanksgiving season. Airports are sized based on the total number of passengers flying both to and from that airport, with the size of planes showing the traffic in each direction. Airports and planes are colored to indicate the relative proportion of inbound vs outbound travelers. People tend to be flying from bluer airports and traveling to redder airports.

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 10.57.59 AM

Data and Methodology

The data presented in this analysis comes from Hopper’s combined feed of Global Distribution System (GDS) data sources which includes about 10 million flight search queries and several billion priced round trip flights per day.  Demand is represented as the number of queries not actual ticket purchases, and is calibrated across all GDS sources for each market.

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