The Least Popular Days to Fly This Holiday Season—How Much You Can Save
Travelers could save over $100 per ticket by flying on these three days.
It's no secret that airports see the most foot traffic—and are at their most hectic—during the winter holidays, especially leading up to Christmas. According to a study conducted by Deloitte, 48 percent of Americans plan to travel this holiday season, which is more than a 31 percent increase from 2022. If you're a seasoned holiday flier, you know that the best time to purchase a flight is before mid-October, as airfare tends to drastically increase in price come November. But don't fret if you haven't hit purchase just yet: Experts at Hopper say travelers can still save big by flying on three specific days.
According to Hopper's 2023 holiday travel outlook, this December will be one for the books as both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve fall over the weekend. The travel website estimates that of the two holidays, Christmas will see the highest volume of travelers, and 33 percent of its users have plans to travel for New Year's Eve. All of which is to say, you can probably expect longer lines at baggage drop-off and security checkpoints, and congested waiting areas.
If you're hoping to avoid the busyness, Hopper suggests flying on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or New Year's Day, the three days the website proclaims as the least popular to fly this holiday season. Additionally, flights on these days are expected to be significantly cheaper. Passengers flying domestically on Dec. 24, Dec. 25, or Jan. 1 could save $114 per ticket, or about 26 percent off peak price.
For many of us, of course, flying on a holiday is not ideal. However, experts at Hopper warn that departing on Dec. 22—the Friday before Christmas—will be the most expensive plane ticket of all. And flying the Tuesday after Christmas will also cost you a pretty penny. Those who fly on Dec. 26 will pay a $30 premium compared to those leaving later in the week, Hopper reported.
While flying during the holiday season can be a bit stressful, Hopper has some helpful tips for ensuring your trip runs as smoothly as possible. In addition to purchasing trip protection, Hopper recommends departing between 5 and 8 a.m., as "flights departing after 9 a.m. are 2X more likely to be delayed." Lastly, fly direct if you can. A longer flight is better than a delayed or missed connection.