(NEW YORK) — More Americans are expected to make the trek home for the holidays this year than in 2016, and the frustration that stems from traveling on some of the busiest days will leave a few people deserving coal in their stockings.
Here are some tips from top travel groups that could help stave off some travel-induced rage, and maybe even help you stay off the naughty list.
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What are the best and worst days to fly?
Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve are projected to be the lightest days, according to trade group Airlines for America.
On the other end of the spectrum, the group says, the busiest travel days will be Thursday, Dec. 21, Friday, Dec. 22 and Tuesday, Dec. 26. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration also cites Dec. 21 and Friday, Dec. 22 as the busiest days, along with Tuesday, Dec. 26 through Friday, Dec. 29, as well as Tuesday, Jan. 2.
By the numbers
The TSA is preparing for an influx of as many as 400,000 additional travelers every day during the holiday season.
The total number of air passengers could range from below 2 million people on the lighter days and up to 2.7 million people on the busier days, Airlines for America projects.
As a result, the TSA will have 55 more canine teams working this year compared to last year.
Airlines for America projects that 51 million passengers are expected to fly globally on U.S. airlines between Dec. 15 and Jan. 4, which it considers the winter holiday period.
That’s a 3.5 percent increase over last year, according to the trade group, which represents 10 major airlines.
In response, the trade group reports, airlines are adding about 91,000 extra seats on flights, per day, to accommodate the influx.
If you’re more concerned about traffic on the ground rather than the skies, hitting the roads on Christmas Day may be the key to your success. Christmas Day, Dec. 25, is expected to have the least traffic of any day between Dec. 22 and Jan. 4, according to navigation app Waze.
One route that may register a bit of an uptick on Christmas? The trip to the movies. That could be a 130 percent increase in navigations to movie theaters on Dec. 25, compared with each day in the prior four weeks, according to Waze.
The new year is also slated to start off with a relative calm on the roads. Waze predicts that Jan. 1 will have the same amount of traffic as any Sunday.
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