Thanksgiving is the most popular holiday for air travel and, consequently, it can be challenging to find reasonable flights. Don’t be stressed! There are still ways to save some cash and enjoy your holiday. You just have to get a little creative.

thanksgiving air travel

When the average Thanksgiving traveler plans a holiday, he or she tends to look at flying out on the Wednesday before Turkey Day and then flying home on the Sunday after the holiday. That particular itinerary is not going to be cheap because more people fly on those two days than on any other during Thanksgiving week.

Our best fares for Thanksgiving this year can save you (on average) over $150 per ticket if you approach your travel dates with a bit of creativity. What we mean is that if you’re willing to travel on nontraditional days for the holiday, you can save, sometimes a lot. We’re not even going to tell you that you have to avoid both Wednesday AND Sunday. If you can compromise on one of those dates, you’ll save.

If you must depart on Wednesday, Nov 22?

Cheapest overall itinerary                     Return Friday, Nov 24                       Savings of $150
Cheapest convenient itinerary              Return Monday, Nov 27                    Savings of $105

Have to return on Sunday, Nov 26?

Cheapest overall itinerary                       Depart Friday, Nov 17                   Savings of $41
Cheapest convenient itinerary                Depart Tuesday, Nov 21             Savings of $30

The biggest savings this year occur when you can be flexible with your return dates, but there are savings on the departure dates as well.

Cheapest departure date overall:
Monday, November 20

Cheapest return dates overall:
Friday, November 24 and Tuesday, November 28

thanksgiving 2017 calendar

The best deals on outbound flights this year are going to folks who can take the week off and fly out on the Monday before the holiday.

Your best bets for cheapest flights home, on average, will be found on the Friday after Thanksgiving or even better, if you can afford to take a couple of days off of work, we highly recommend extending that trip until the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, (the cheapest return date, historically).

We should share one more insider tip. While flying on Thanksgiving Day this year doesn’t offer the deep savings it has in year’s past, if you don’t have far to go it will offer much less congested airports and airplanes. And you can’t put a price on convenience and less stress. What’s not to like about that?

Keep in mind, Thanksgiving fares will continue to increase as we get closer to the holiday so don’t wait too long. You can read more about holiday fares on our Holiday Flights page, including tips, holiday news and updates. Happy holidays and happy travels!

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