Ready to go elbow-to-elbow with the more than 30 million American tourists on this Thanksgiving crossing the crowded skies? This trip can not be an item on your travel to-dodo list put-it-off-until-tomorrow. You want a heavy piled plate with turkey meat, cranberries, and green bean casserole to be at the family table. Read the helpful tips below to get home on timetable-then book your Thanksgiving flight ASAP.
1. Be ready for big crowds.
In 2018, for Thanksgiving, over 50 million people traveled home, including 30.6 million people who took to the air. It's the busiest moment of the year throughout the nation at airports — tempers will flare-up. There will be an inconvenience. Just try to be the best of yourself.
2. The goal for the best days to fly.
Thanksgiving is a Thursday all the time. Monday is the less crowded air travel day to begin the vacation if you can handle the job and private schedules. Friday is the best time for mom and dad to say goodbye and head home. FYI: Although highly uncomfortable, Thanksgiving Day sees low airport traffic-and sometimes you can get last-minute deals (but don't rely on it).
3. Avoid the most unfortunate days to fly
The most unfortunate days are Tuesday and Wednesday before Turkey Day and Saturday and Sunday afterward (when flights are the fullest and most costly).
4. Look into alternative airports.
Sometimes when you have to fly, you don't get around. But you do have choices on where sometimes. For instance: your regular airport may be Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Still, see what's going on at Dulles International Airport in Washington.
5. Package must be light.
Save time, cash, and baggage claim hassles. Use carry-on bags and pack light. Invest in a hanging bin-sized roller bag; the best have 360-degree rotating wheels. Bring an oversized holiday gift? Ship it in advance.
6. Bypass security lines.
The Transportation Security Administration offers the option to obtain the status of TSA Precheck. It begins with an online application and requires a brief interview with an enrollment center in person. You will receive a Known Traveler Number once you have been authorized. According to the TSA, 93 percent of Precheck flyers are waiting at airport security for less than five minutes.
7. Use trip applications.
There's an app for every airline, upload it. Hopper, check out. It has lots useful information on planning, including updates on check-in length and security lines at the country's 25 busiest airports. Practical too: AtYourGate. It allows you to sit at your gate at select airports and bring you a variety of restaurant offerings. They delivered directly to the aircraft. Here are more useful applications for travel.