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The worst days to fly in the US, ranked

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Today is not the busiest day to fly in America. I repeat, today is not the busiest day to fly in America.

It’s not even close.

The three busiest days to fly in the US are all in the summer. In 2013, they were July 18, 25, and 11, according to airport operations data from the FAA. Those were the three consecutive Thursdays following US Independence Day on July 4th (which was the 21st least-busiest day to fly).

Of the top 30 busiest days at US airports in 2013, only three were during winter.

The day before Thanksgiving, if you were wondering, ranks 27th.

The Friday before Christmas—Dec 20—was the busiest winter day in 2013, ranking 4th overall. This year the Friday before Christmas is Dec 19.

1
July 18
39,753 flights
2
July 25
39,630
3
July 11
39,538
4
December 20
39,485
5
June 14
39,472
6
August 2
39,361
7
June 20
39,305
8
August 1
39,251
9
August 9
39,249
10
July 26
39,243
11
June 19
39,190
12
August 15
39,163
13
July 31
39,140
14
July 24
39,118
15
July 12
39,080
16
December 19
39,054
17
August 8
38,973
18
July 19
38,902
19
August 7
38,855
20
August 16
38,798
21
June 27
38,775
22
June 21
38,763
23
July 16
38,730
24
July 17
38,715
25
July 30
38,708
26
June 6
38,695
27
November 27
38,676
28
August 6
38,654
29
July 3
38,554
30
May 24
38,405

The day before Thanksgiving is only marginally busy—not only in aggregate, but also at a local level. In 2013, there wasn’t one airport in the US that had its busiest day on Nov 27. Here’s a map of that:

With snow expected on the east coast this year, there are worries of weather related delays and cancellations that could pack more passengers onto fewer planes today. But that has not been the norm either. Flights in November are the least delayed by weather of any month on average.

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