The Busiest Time of Year to Fly and How to Make the Best of it

December 3, 2015 | Author: Jeremy Dingman

As a native of Phoenix, Arizona, I’ve never experienced the type of Christmas you see in the movies -- the white Christmas, filled with cold weather and hot cocoa– where people bundle up in layers and go outside caroling; needless to say, it’s just not like that in this desert metropolis. I consider myself lucky every year if I see my neighbor wrap their cactus in tinsel and put lights on the front of their house without breaking a sweat.

However, for the majority of the U.S., the scene I just described from some of my favorite holiday movies is a reality. And, like many classic Christmas movies, these folks are soon-to-be airline passengers, burdened by cold weather and overflowing airports as they try to get home for the holidays. So, this had me thinking… Is December really the busiest time of year to fly?

According to a 2012 survey conducted by AAA in USA Today, airline travel increases by 23% during the 17 days leading up to New Year’s Day. So, if you’re among the many traveling during the holidays this year, here are five ways to avoid standing-room-only terminals and planes where elbow room doesn’t exist.


1. Live a Little

You’ve seen this email, “Save Time When You Upgrade Your Flight to First Class,” but you’ve never considered upgrading because of the eye-opening price tag that comes with sitting eight feet in front of your usual seat. However, if you’re trying to beat the rush at the airport, it might be the right time to treat yourself; after all, it is the holidays. Plus, when you sit in first class, you can throw away those airline peanuts and order a meal that looks like this.

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2. Leave During the Week

According to, the two busiest days of the week to fly are Friday and Sunday. This means that tickets are in high demand during these days and should be avoided at all costs, especially during the holidays. By choosing a flight during the middle the week, not only will you beat the traffic to airport while everyone is still at work, but you may save a few dollars – maybe even enough to offset your other travel expenses


3. Travel Light

Half the battle at airports is getting through the line that starts out the door just so that you can check your bag. My recommendation? Save yourself the headache and the extra half hour you’ll spend in that line and pack light. By doing so, you can skip the line filled with people who forgot to print their boarding passes at home and use that time to get ahead everyone at security checkpoint.

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4. Ship Everything

This year while you’re walking by everyone at baggage claim, you’ll notice the guy chasing his bags down the carousel because he has all of his gifts in four different pieces of luggage. If you do decide to check a bag, make sure it’s filled with clothes and liquids that are under three ounces. After all, you don’t want the bag filled with gifts to be one of the 21.8 million bags that are mishandled each year. Do yourself a favor and ship all of your gifts ahead of time. This ensures they don’t get lost in transition and it saves you the race around the carousel.

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5. Enjoy Cabin Entertainment

Many airlines are starting to get the hint that their passengers are tired of reading the in-flight menu or the safety features of the aircraft for six hours. They’ve finally figured out that everyone needs to stay connected and productive, especially during this busy time of year. With cabin entertainment, you can get some work done or finish your Christmas shopping by using the aircraft Wi-Fi – enjoy it. It sure beats the alternative of driving for the next few days.

Now that you’ve upgraded your flight to first class, on a day where many people are still stuck at work, with a bag that fits the carry-on requirements and the ability to finish your last minute Christmas shopping on the plane: sit back, relax and enjoy your flight. Happy traveling and happy holidays.


Jeremy Dingman

Jeremy Dingman

Jeremy Dingman is the Senior Manager of Marketing for Honeywell’s HGuide Inertial Sensor and Navigation business and UAV Inspection Services business. Jeremy joined Honeywell in 2015 and has worked in e-commerce, channel marketing, digital marketing, copy-writing and web development.

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