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Here Are The Best & Worst Days To Travel This Holiday Season

By Parker Diakite

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When it comes to traveling during the holiday season, it pretty much goes without saying: travelers should expect the worst and hope for the best.

With an estimated 47.5 million passengers expected to hit the airport over the 18-day winter holiday travel period from Dec. 19 through Jan. 5, bad attitudes, long security checkpoint lines, delayed flights, and everything in between are going to be unavoidable.

If you haven’t booked your plans yet, one thing you can do to minimize said annoyances is to travel on the slowest days in that timeframe.

Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade group for major airlines, found that Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve will be the lightest travel days, according to a report.

The busiest days and probably the worst times to travel are anticipated to be Dec. 20,  Dec. 21,  Dec. 26, Dec. 27. 

A4A projects an average of 2.6 million passengers to fly the friendly skies, up by 3% compared to last year’s winter travel period.

To accommodate the more than 70,000 additional daily passengers, A4A said airlines had to offer 88,000 additional seats and 884 more flights each day.

“Throughout this year we’ve seen steady gains in air travel demand, and this winter will be no exception,” Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich said in a statement. “Buoyed by a healthy economy and plentiful, affordable air service, travelers once again are expected to take to the skies in record numbers.”

This busy winter holiday season follows a record-breaking Thanksgiving travel period, the report reads.

On Dec.1, the Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2.8 million travelers, making it the busiest day in the agency’s history. Despite the high volume of travelers, TSA officials reported that 99% of passengers nationwide waited less than 30 minutes in a checkpoint line.

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