The 10 Most Popular Flight Routes This Labor Day Weekend

Aug 30, 2018

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The last long weekend of the summer, Labor Day weekend (Aug. 31 to Sept. 3) is rapidly approaching — and it’s projected to be one of the busiest ever, with a record-breaking 16.5 million people likely to fly away, according to Airlines for America.

This probably has something to do with the fact that this Labor Day weekend is also expected to be one of the most affordable in years. Earlier this month, Hopper reported that flight prices are down 14% from 2017 — the cheapest fares in four years — which might explain why the last long weekend of summer will be so crowded.

Of course, not all routes — or airports — will have the same influx of travelers.

The online travel agency Priceline analyzed flights departing Aug. 31 and returning Sept. 3 to determine the most popular routes for Labor Day weekend. Clearly, New Yorkers are taking advantage of the final Summer Friday, as six of the 10 most popular routes originate at New York City-area airports.

“New Yorkers are getting out of town for Labor Day weekend and heading off to destinations including Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, San Francisco and Seattle,” Priceline’s senior analyst, Kevin O’Leary, told TPG. “This year, Priceline is also seeing a sizable increase in flight travel out of New York to western US destinations. Flights from New York to Seattle are up more than 100% compared to 2017, while Vegas is up nearly 75% and San Francisco is up 66%.”

But as O’Leary pointed out, New Yorkers who stick around the city may not necessarily enjoy a blissfully quiet weekend. Because while many New Yorkers are getting out, “the reverse is also true.” From Friday until Monday, New York City will be flooded with travelers from California, Georgia, Texas, Florida and elsewhere.

In fact, the single most popular Labor Day weekend route is on flights from Orlando to New York City. (Unfortunately, the ranking is based on destinations rather than individual airports, so we can’t say for certain if one New York City airport is more popular this weekend than others.)

Most popular Labor Day weekend flight routes

  1. Orlando to New York City
  2. Los Angeles to New York City
  3. New York City to Orlando
  4. New York City to Los Angeles
  5. Fort Lauderdale to New York City
  6. New York City to San Francisco
  7. New York City to Atlanta
  8. New York City to Seattle
  9. Orlando to Indianapolis
  10. New York City to Chicago

If we had to venture a guess, it’s probably safe to say that Orlando International Airport (MCO) is likely to be teeming this weekend, as will New York City’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) and LaGuardia (LGA) airports.

Just because the airport is busy, however, doesn’t always mean the crowds in town will compare. Based on hotel reservations for stays between Aug. 31 and Sept. 3, Las Vegas is the most-booked destination in the nation for Labor Day weekend, followed by Chicago and New Orleans. (New York City and Orlando took the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.)

So unfortunately, the only surefire way to avoid the masses this Labor Day weekend will be to stay in and cool off by the AC at home.

Featured photo by Artur Debat/Getty Images

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