Your Travel Guide to Thanksgiving: Airline Forecasts and Best Times to Fly

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(NEW YORK) – Millions are expected to fly over the Thanksgiving holiday and airlines say they are ready for the travel rush.

This fall, airlines had the highest number of full-time employees in 20 years, and industry leaders say airlines are well positioned to handle the surge in passenger numbers during the holidays .

On the road, AAA predicts that nearly 49 million people will drive during Thanksgiving, up 0.4% from last year.

Here’s what you need to know:


Travelers staying in the United States over Thanksgiving are heading to major cities like New York, Orlando and Los Angeles, according to Hopper. For international travel, Dublin, Cancun and Doha, Qatar top Hopper’s list of most booked destinations.

American Airlines expects to serve 6.8 million customers this Thanksgiving with more than 66,000 scheduled flights. American said Sunday, Nov. 27 would likely be his busiest day of travel.

Delta Air Lines plans to fly nearly 6 million customers Nov. 18-29. Delta also expects its peak days to be Nov. 18 and 27.

United Airlines is preparing to welcome more than 5.5 million travelers between November 18 and 30. Houston, Chicago O’Hare, Denver and Newark will be United’s busiest airports over the holidays. United expects November 27 to be its busiest day of travel since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.


This year is expected to be the third busiest for Thanksgiving travel since AAA began tracking in 2000.

If you’re hitting the road the night before Thanksgiving, the worst time to travel is between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., while the best times are before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m., according to transportation analytics firm INRIX.

If you’re looking to get home the day after Thanksgiving, the worst drive times are between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., while the best times are before 11 a.m. or after 8 p.m., INRIX said. The same road trip advice also applies to the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

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