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How to avoid flight delays while visiting your in-laws this Thanksgiving


Nov 10, 2012 12:08 pm

Skift Take

Travelers should book based on their travel priorities. If a cheap ticket is their biggest concern, fly on 11/22, 11/23, or 11/27. If price is secondary to a quick flight and overall less stressful experience, then book on 11/22 or 11/23.

— Samantha Shankman

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Scott  / Flickr.com

Passengers make their way through an extremely crowded airport. Scott / Flickr.com

Every meta-search and online booking agency comes out with statistics stating the cheapest days and times to travel, but some passengers care more about the flight experience than the cost.

NerdWallet analyzed on-time arrival stats during the Thanksgiving holiday for the past three years to predict the best days to avoid delays. It found that Thanksgiving and the following Friday were the best days for on-time arrivals. Friday has had the highest percentage of on-time arrivals for the past three years, while the Tuesday following the holiday had the worst track record for the entire travel period.

A recent report by Travelocity found that Thanksgiving is also the cheapest day to fly making it a win-win for bookers. This is because most travelers arrive at their location before the actual holiday. The Tuesday following the holiday is also reported as one of the cheapest days to fly, despite record-high flight delays.

A forecast for Thanksgiving travel by Airlines for America predicts that planes will be close to 90 percent full, a record for the holiday due to a reduced number of flights in recent months.

Of course, most Americans aren’t going to arrive on Thanksgiving morning only to depart the next day. Their best bet is picking either their arrival date or departure date on one the dates listed below.

The best days for on-time arrivals? Thanksgiving day and Friday following Thanksgiving.

The worst day for on-time arrivals? Tuesday following Thanksgiving (although tickets will be cheap!).

The best days to avoid crowds? Wednesday before Thanksgiving or Monday after the holiday. (If it’s even possible.)

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