2017 Thanksgiving Travel Report: 25 Busiest Airports Announced

Last updated on 03/28/2023

WARWICK, R.I., Nov. 15, 2017 -- In an effort to help empower travelers to make more informed decisions when it comes to Thanksgiving travel plans, Hopper and InsureMyTrip research teams reveal what airports and flights to avoid, the best time to buy, and how the latest data trends can aid travelers when comparing travel insurance benefits.

Best Time To Buy and Fly For Thanksgiving Travel
The data from Hopper revealed the following trends for Thanksgiving 2017:

  • Domestic flight prices are currently averaging about $322 round-trip for Thanksgiving compared to $288 last year (up about 12%).
  • You can save the most money by leaving on Monday, November 20 and returning Wednesday, November 29
  • Last year, the cheapest prices were available until about 55 days before departure (early October), averaging about $286. Between 15 - 25 days prior to departure, there were moderate increases of $1 per day. In the final two weeks, prices started spiking $10 per day.

This is the list of the busiest airports for Thanksgiving, based on total departing passengers and volume of scheduled departures:

Rank Airport City Passengers During Thanksgiving Week Busiest Time
1 ATL Atlanta 1,382,846 8:40 a.m.
2 LAX Los Angeles 1,134,894 9:00 a.m.
3 ORD Chicago 1,020,476 8:00 a.m.
4 DFW Dallas 850,314 5:30 p.m.
5 JFK New York 837,078 5:30 p.m.
6 DEN Denver 772,831 10:20 a.m.
7 SFO San Francisco 745,123 9:40 a.m.
8 LAS Las Vegas 636,132 12:00 p.m.
9 CLT Charlotte 623,829 8:30 a.m.
10 PHX Phoenix 613,433 8:50 a.m.
11 MIA Miami 609,782 4:00 p.m.
12 SEA Seattle 589,451 10:40 a.m.
13 MCO Orlando 578,316 10:50 a.m.
14 EWR Newark 569,967 4:20 p.m.
15 IAH Houston 557,786 2:00 p.m.
16 BOS Boston 498,827 6:00 a.m.
17 MSP Minneapolis 466,675 6:30 p.m.
18 DTW Detroit 464,338 6:50 p.m.
19 FLL Fort Lauderdale 449,863 7:20 p.m.
20 LGA New York 417,180 8:30 a.m.
21 PHL Philadelphia 392,102 4:50 p.m.
22 BWI Baltimore 386,796 7:10 a.m.
23 DCA Washington DC 321,346 4:10 p.m.
24 MDW Chicago 319,357 7:20 a.m.
25 IAD Washington DC 300,393 4:10 p.m.

Best Protection For Flight Delays
Based on these data results, travelers can make smarter choices about their travel plans and travel insurance purchases. For example, passengers with departing flights at busier airports are more likely to utilize a travel delay benefit and, therefore, may want to compare travel insurance policies with better delay protection.

"If travelers are made aware of the probability of delays, they can then use that data to help them compare travel delay benefits when considering a travel insurance purchase," says InsureMyTrip Intelligence Analyst Danny DeMello.

Travel delay benefits vary with each travel insurance provider, generally between a 5 and 24-hour window. The benefit is designed to provide reimbursement for reasonable meals and accommodations while unable to travel.

Tip: Travelers must be delayed for a certain number of hours before this benefit can be applied. When comparing travel insurance, look for the minimum delay time (typically, starting at 5 hours) to start qualifying for coverage as soon as possible.

Best Protection For Delayed Bags
Travelers may also want to ensure baggage delay coverage is included under a selected comprehensive travel insurance plan. Baggage delay coverage generally becomes active after belongings have been delayed for a specified period of time, typically 12 or 24 hours.

Tip: When comparing travel insurance, look for a maximum per-person coverage amount as well as a per-day limit. For example, some policies may offer $500 per person to purchase incidentals, but only allow $200 to be spent per day.

Best Protection For Missing Cruise Departure
For those concerned about a delayed flight adversely affecting a cruise or tour departure, travelers may also want to ensure a missed connection benefit is included under a selected comprehensive travel insurance plan. This benefit is designed to provide travelers with coverage if a delayed flight (for example, of 3 hours or more) causes a traveler to miss a cruise departure.

Tip: Florida airports tend to be very busy during cruise season, so plan for delays.

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About Hopper

Hopper is an airfare prediction app available for iOS and Android devices. Hopper analyzes billions of flight prices a day to provide advice on when to fly and buy. Hopper predicts price changes for your trip, and notifies you when to book. Hopper has received accolades such as Apple's App Store Best of 2015, the Webby Award for Best Travel App, and the Google Play Award for Standout Startup of 2016. Visit Hopper for more information and to download the free app.

About InsureMyTrip

It's simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. We are committed to empowering travelers to make the best possible insurance decisions by leveraging our technology, data intelligence, and expertise.

SOURCE InsureMyTrip