Best and Worst Days to Fly This Thanksgiving

Forgot to buy airline tickets? It's crunch time.

ByGENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN
November 10, 2016, 3:46 PM
PHOTO: Travelers go through security at JFK Airport the day before Thanksgiving on Nov. 25, 2015. One of the biggest travel days of the year, area airports and other travel hubs are experiencing increased security.
Travelers go through security at JFK Airport the day before Thanksgiving on Nov. 25, 2015. One of the biggest travel days of the year, area airports and other travel hubs are experiencing increased security.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

— -- Thanksgiving is two weeks away, and for those who have been consumed by the presidential election, it's now time to turn your thoughts to travel.

When it comes to Thanksgiving air travel, not all days are created equal. Fares and crowds vary widely during the Thanksgiving travel period of Friday, Nov. 18 through Tuesday, Nov. 29 (as defined by Airlines for America, an industry trade group).

Daily passenger volumes will range from 1.51 million to 2.81 million, the organization said, with the busiest travel days in this ranked order: Sunday, Nov. 27; Monday, Nov. 28; and Wednesday, Nov. 23.

Translation: These are bad days to fly.

The lightest travel day is expected to be Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, Nov. 24.

Translation: This is a good day to fly.

Fares directly reflect crowds. More crowds, higher fares.

According to the website FareCompare, travelers who choose to fly on Nov. 23 and Nov. 27 could pay as much as 65 percent more per round-trip ticket compared to those flying on Thanksgiving Day and returning on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

The average fare for a Wednesday departure and a Sunday return is $662, FareCompare data showed. The average price drops to $395 if travelers fly on Thanksgiving Day and return the following Tuesday.

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