Is Today Actually The Busiest Air Travel Day Of The Year?

You hear it every year from people — Try to avoid traveling on the day before Thanksgiving because it’s the busiest day of the year. And that very well be true when you factor in all modes of transport. But in terms of air travel, Thanksgiving Eve appears to be nowhere near the most hectic day for flights in the U.S.

This the argument made by David Yanofsky over at, where he uses FAA flight data to show that the busiest travel days are actually during the middle of the summer. In fact, of the 15 days in 2013 with the highest numbers of flights operating at U.S. airports, only one (Dec. 20) occurred outside of the summer months. December 19 was the 16th busiest day last year, while Nov. 27 was all the way down at #27 for the year.

Now this comparison only looks at the sheer number of flights and not the actual number of passengers on those flights. In a follow-up on Twitter, Yanofsky makes the case that FAA data for passenger emplanements shows that November is significantly lower than the summer months and December.

This news will be of little to no consolation or concern for the millions of Americans who are packed onto Amtrak trains this weekend (especially in the D.C.-Boston corridor) or stuck in traffic trying to drive to see in-laws they don’t particularly like. And the fact that most of these people will be making their return trips later this weekend doesn’t help.

Meanwhile, I’m currently under about eight feet of snow in upstate New York. If someone wants to hop on their SnoCat and rescue me, please bring some hot chocolate. Oh, and watch out for the hedge animals outside. I think they’re moving.

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