Expect record-breaking holiday crowds at airports; our tips to navigating the lines
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Flying during the upcoming holiday season? Brace yourself.
Airports haven’t gotten any larger in the past year, so expect large crowds and long lines if you’ve got air travel booked between December 21 – January 1.
Almost 7 million Americans — which represents a roughly 5% increase year-over-year — are expected to fly this holiday season, according to AAA.
The busiest and quietest travel days this season are predicted to be December 22, the Sunday before Christmas, and December 24, Christmas Eve, respectively.
This trend of increased volume of travelers over the holidays isn’t new. In fact, according to Paula Twidale, Vice President of AAA Travel, “Travelers should be getting used to crowded highways and airports, as this marks the eighth straight year of new record-high travel volumes for the year-end holidays.”
If you’re traveling this holiday season, we’ve got some tips to help you manage the congested terminals and long lines.
First, be sure to sign up for TPG’s free daily email newsletter. The newsletter is curated daily and features an expert-traveler approved tip of the day. Furthermore, make sure you’ve got lounge access to help you escape some of the busiest airport concourses. Many of our highly recommended credit cards include free access to top-notch lounges across the country.
Although it may be too late for this holiday season, get a head start on applying for TSA PreCheck and Clear. These programs are lifesavers when it comes to clearing airport security, especially when the terminals are filled with new travelers.
Be sure to check out the great piece put together by the head of family content at TPG, Summer Hull. She suggests going early, being strategic about packing (try to carry on luggage instead of checking), and consider shipping packages ahead of time.
And finally, patience. Be sure to pack lots of it since the airports are going to be crowded.
Featured photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees