The Worst Part About Thanksgiving Travel Isn’t Actually the Airport

Nov 17, 2018

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It turns out, the worst part about Thanksgiving isn’t the airport — or arguing with extended family members over a carved turkey.

Travelers know to brace themselves for crowds, delays and queues around Thanksgiving. More than 54 million Americans are expected to travel this year between Nov. 21 and Nov. 25, according to AAA, and the TSA is anticipating a 7% increase in passenger volume (about 25 million travelers).

But according to Cars.com, it’s the simple act of driving to the airport that could be the worst part of Thanksgiving this year.

Drive times vary, of course, depending on your departure airport and date of travel. For instance, getting to LaGuardia in New York City will always take you more time than navigating to Charlotte Douglas International Airport. But INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, is predicting that travel times in the most congested cities could be four times longer than normal this Thanksgiving period.

If you’re flying out of one of these notoriously congested cities, be prepared for outright agonizing airport drive times this year — and avoid at all costs traveling during peak traffic. According to the study, each drive time is estimated from the city’s downtown neighborhood. Read up, plan ahead and don’t by shy about hitting the road extra early this year. Because the only thing that could make Thanksgiving travel more stressful is missing your flight altogether.

10. Charlotte (CLT), North Carolina

Travel time: 21 minutes if traveling on Tuesday, Nov. 20 between 8pm and 10pm.

9. San Francisco (SFO), California

Travel time: 24 minutes if traveling on Monday, Nov. 19 between 5pm and 7pm.

8. Las Vegas (LAS), Nevada

Travel time: 27 minutes if traveling on Wednesday, Nov. 21 between 8am and 9am.

7. Dallas (DFW), Texas

Travel time: 30 minutes if traveling on Monday, Nov. 19 between 5pm and 7pm.

6. Atlanta (ATL), Georgia

Travel time: 34 minutes if traveling on Tuesday, Nov. 20 between 7pm and 9pm.

5. Seattle (SEA), Washington

Travel time: 41 minutes if traveling on Wednesday, Nov. 21 between 8pm and 10pm.

4. Denver (DIA) Colorado

Travel time: 55 minutes if traveling on Monday, Nov. 19 between 5:30pm and 7:30pm.

3. Los Angeles (LAX), California

Travel time: 58 minutes if traveling on Tuesday, Nov. 20 between 7pm and 9pm.

2. New York City (JFK), New York

Travel time: 1 hour and 19 minutes if traveling on Tuesday, Nov. 20 between 5:30pm and 7:30pm.

1. Chicago (ORD), Illinois

Travel time: 1 hour and 37 minutes if traveling on Wednesday, Nov. 21 between 1:30pm and 3:30pm.

In fact, even if you aren’t flying out of one of these cities, be sure to factor in extra time for your travels. Being early is always better than starting off your trip rushed and full of holiday road rage.

Feature image by NurPhoto / Getty Images Contributor. 

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