When is the best time to buy your Thanksgiving airline tickets? To grab the best overall prices you’re going to want to purchase soon. Though it’s not actually the busiest time to fly, and those crowds at the airport sure make it seem like it is,Thanksgiving travel is no joke.

thanksgiving travel

There are simply a lot of people vying for a limited number of seats on specific dates. To get the best deals, you just can’t wait until the last minute.

According to our Holiday Flight data, purchasing in September is going to give you the best prices for Thanksgiving week. On average, booking in September will save you $37 more than people who book in October and $107 if you wait until November (so don’t procrastinate!)

Prefer not to wait? You can buy earlier – while there is a wide selection of available flights for the peak travel days – and if the price goes down in September, CheapAir.com’s Price Drop Payback will credit you back up to $100!

Now, here’s the thing. The day you fly will be a big factor in how good of a deal you get. We’ll show you what we mean. The most popular travel itinerary for Thanksgiving tends to be departing on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and returning on Sunday. The problem: that very popular schedule drives up demand, and therefore prices. We know some people have more flexibility than others, so we put together a few different options that will save you big time!

Cheapest Thanksgiving departure date

Monday, Nov 19
Savings of $75

Cheapest Thanksgiving return dates

Friday, Nov 23
Savings of $170

Tuesday, Nov 27
Savings of $209

Do you need to depart on Wednesday, the 21st?

Cheapest overall itinerary
Return Friday, Nov 23
Savings of $166

Cheapest convenient itinerary
Return Monday, Nov 26
Savings of $91

Do you need to return on Sunday, the 25th?

Cheapest overall itinerary
Depart Thanksgiving, Nov 22
Savings of $36

Cheapest convenient itinerary
Depart Monday, Nov 19
Savings of $36

As you can see, the travel day you choose can have a pretty big impact on your bottom line. A few adjustments to either the outbound flight or your return may mean the difference between a completely affordable visit with the family, or a cost-prohibitive headache.

family thanksgiving

If you’ve done your homework but you’re still hesitant to buy, remember Price Drop Payback. Should the cost of your flight go down after you buy, we’ll reimburse you up to $100 per ticket. That’s a nice little bit of insurance! Now go get those flights!


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  1. I need a flight from Los Angeles to Norfolk Virginia airport that Monday week of thanksgiving and returning that Sunday after thanksgiving you guys help me before going to Virginia for Christmas several times please help me

    • Hi Raymond. The best prices for the dates you’re looking to travel are (at the moment) on United. There is a flight for $676 round trip on United. Let us know if you’re interested and we can send you the details for the specific itinerary.

    • Hi

      I’m looking for tickets for Thanksgiving 2019 for 5 Adults. We would prefer to depart Tues or Wed and Return Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. Leaving Atlanta, GA. Hartsfield Airport to Boston MA logan airport.

      • Right now there is a nonstop flight on Delta for just $203. Departing on Tues 26 and returning on Tues Dec 3. That’s the best price for your dates and it won’t last! In general, Delta has the best itineraries for your dates.

  2. Booking for 4, 3 adults, 1 senior. Need to leave Tues., return Sun., OKC-BOS, Thanksgiving Week. Time of day does not matter, except, not getting back too late Sun.

    • Hi Rosco, Thanksgiving week is always quite a bit more expensive than other times of the year. It looks like the best prices right now are on American (for right around $600 a ticket).

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