You may have heard that Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year time of the year for travel, but it turns out that this idea is just a myth. In an effort to figure out when the best and worst times to fly are, Quartz analyzed flight data for 11 U.S. airlines compiled by Planestats.com — and it turns out that the worst travel days generally (but not all of them!) fall over the summer. This is excellent news for those of you who were concerned that the day before Thanksgiving will be a travel nightmare... but while the days before Thanksgiving might not be so bad, it's also not all sunshine and rainbows: The Sunday after Thanksgiving is going to be a zoo. You win some, you lose some.
Quartz found that the day before Thanksgiving — which is Nov. 25 this year — is actually pretty average: It ranks as only the 121st busiest air travel day of the year. In general, travel tends to peak in the latter months of the summer and dip in the winter, with January and February seeing the lowest rates of airplane traffic. So, hey, if you're thinking about taking a vacation sometime soon? The first two months of the year are the way to go. Just something to keep in mind.
So what were the busiest and least busy travel days of this year? Let's look at the top five most active (read: worst) days for airplane travel in 2015, followed by the bottom two least active (read: best) days. To see more analysis, head over to Quartz.
The Top 5 Most Active Days For Air Travel:
1. Aug. 7
The peak of the summer isn't bad just because of soaring temperatures; it's also a painful time to fly due to the high volume of travelers in the air. Interestingly, all but two of the 50 busiest travel days of this year were in June, July, or August. Must be all of those summer vacations, weekend getaways, and destination weddings.
2. Nov. 29
It's perhaps unsurprising that the Sunday after Thanksgiving is so heavily traveled, but that's not going to make it any easier to deal with. Interestingly, it's also one of only two of the top 50 most active travel days that doesn't fall in the summer.
3. July 24
July 24 is right in the middle of the summer, when it's blazing hot outside and everyone wants to get out of the office and onto the beach. Who could blame them?
4. July 31
This fell on a Sunday this year, which probably meant many people returning home from their vacations by plane.
5. July 17
July 17 fell on a Friday in 2015, so I'm guessing this was another instance of people jetting off to tropical destinations, to enjoy much needed vacation time, away from the daily grind.
The Two Least Active Days For Air Travel:
1. Nov. 26
In an ironic twist, Thanksgiving day has the least amount of travel scheduled. If you want to take a spontaneous Thanksgiving Day getaway, that might be a good time to do it.
2. Oct. 31
Everyone must have spent Halloween partying, since they clearly weren't at the airport!
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