For those of you who will find yourself in an airport soon jetting off to see your family and friends for the holidays, this post is for you. Why is Caltrans posting about the worst day to fly? Doesn't Caltrans concern itself with surface transportation? Mostly, yes.* But many of you will be driving to the airport (surface transportation!), and if you know which days are busiest at airports, you might leave some extra time to get there (hint, hint). Also, don't we all want to know what the worst days to fly are? Of course we do! Consider this a public service.
Get ready for some myth-busting. Contrary to popular belief, the worst day to fly is NOT the day before Thanksgiving. The three worst days to fly in 2013, according to operations data from the FAA, were the three Thursdays after the Fourth of July in the following order, starting with the busiest: July 18, 25 and 11. The day before Thanksgiving ranked 27th.
The FOURTH worst day to fly in 2013 was the Friday before Christmas, which this year is this Friday, December 19. With so many people flying, expect check-in to take longer and security lines to be longer, and again, leave plenty of time to get to the airport. Use the Caltrans QuickMap to get real-time traffic info and plan your route so you don't miss your flight. Better yet, take transit. Happy travels!
* Caltrans has a Division of Aeronautics that, among many other functions, permits and inspects heliports and is involved in aviation system planning. Learn more about it here.