Airports, Airlines, Aviation

2015 Thanksgiving Travel

Thanksgiving 2015 - courtesy of Presidential Aviation
Thanksgiving 2015 – courtesy of Presidential Aviation

It’s that time of year again in North America when we get ready to loosen our waistbands and over-indulge on turkey, fix-ins, and pumpkin pie – that is if the Thanksgiving travel rush doesn’t get the better of our well-laid plans. According to Orbitz, 61% of Americans say they will travel for Thanksgiving, a 6% increase over last year.

While many brave Thanksgiving travel souls drive, many of us also fly (in fact, I’ll be flying back to LAX, the #1 busiest Thanksgiving travel airport in 2015). Last year we wrote about the Thanksgiving travel rush also, and gave an analysis on WHEN to book your Thanksgiving travel. If you haven’t booked your ticket yet, consider AVOIDING these airports, and flying in to the regional or small alternatives (for example, Burbank BUR would be a much better alternative to LAX at this point):

  1. Los Angeles International (LAX)
  2. Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)
  3. San Francisco International (SFO)
  4. Denver International (DEN)
  5. Boston Logon International (BOS)
  6. John F. Kennedy International (JFK)
  7. Orlando International (MCO)
  8. Newark Liberty International (EWR)
  9. Dallas-Fort Worth International (DFW)
  10. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL)

This list was put together by Orbitz, and looked at the top 50 U.S. airports over the Thanksgiving travel period (November 25th – 30th in 2015). Orbitz went one step further to analyze the busiest times for Thanksgiving travel as well:

With travel expected to be up six percent, those heading to airports this Thanksgiving will need to build in extra time to account for bigger crowds and longer lines. As expected, Wednesday, Nov. 25 and Sunday, Nov. 29 will be the busiest of the weekend.

If you haven’t booked your Thanksgiving travel yet and plan on flying, at this point your best bet is to fly out early on Thanksgiving day itself, and return the following Monday. For my trip to LAX, I will be getting in Nov 23 (a Monday) and leaving the Wednesday after Thanksgiving (Dec 2). I booked back in early August and believe it or not, I was actually able to get my flight on Spirit for under $100 (without bags of course) – $98.18 round-trip.

Spirit Flight to LAX for Thanksgiving Travel - UNDER $100
Spirit Flight to LAX for Thanksgiving Travel – UNDER $100

A couple of factors made this particular flight so cheap:

  1. I booked 4 months in advance
  2. I am flexible with my working hours and am able to travel during non-peak days and hours
  3. I don’t need to take bags with me since I have enough leftover clothes at my parents house
  4. I’m part of the Spirit $9 fare club, which has already paid for itself for the 6 months I’ve been a member
  5. I was able to fly in and our of large airports, which often have more competitive fares (of course the flip side is that you have to deal with the crowds)

Whether or not I actually get to/leave from LAX on-time is another story – with El Niño weather patterns expected, Thanksgiving travel this year will likely get disrupted.

All I can say if safe travels and good luck – I hope you survive the Thanksgiving travel 2015 apocalypse, at see you in my turkey coma dream.

Happy Thanksgiving travel!

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