These are the worst routes to fly this Thanksgiving

Photo: Suhyeon Choi

As always, record-setting air travel is expected for this Thanksgiving week. Of course, they say that every year but they really mean it this time. Over 31 million passengers will travel on US airlines this holiday week, according to a forecast by Airlines For America, a US airline trade organization. Dec. 1 is expected to be the worst day with 3.1 million passengers trying to get back home and then the second-worst day will be Weds. November 27th, which is when everyone is trying to get to their Thanksgiving dinner.

But which flying routes and airports, in particular, will be the worst? AirHelp, the world’s leading passenger rights company,  took a look at travel data from 2018 to help inform travelers about what to expect this year, and here’s what they found:

Airports with the Most Disruptions:

  1. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  2. Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL)
  3. San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  4. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  5. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
  6. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  7. Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  8. Denver International Airport (DEN)
  9. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  10. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)

Most Disrupted Routes:

  1. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  2. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  3. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
  4. San Francisco International Airport (SF) to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  5. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  6. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  7. Oakland International Airport (OAK) to Burbank Airport (BUR)
  8. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  9. Burbank Airport (BUR) to Oakland Airport (OAK)
  10. Nantucket Airport (ACK) to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)

To avoid a Home Alone-run through the airport or a Kristin Wiig in Bridesmaids breakdown on the plane here are a few tips to keep in mind besides the obvious like getting to the airport early and not trying to bring any banned items through security.

  1. Check alternate airports: It may be a little out of the way but it may be cheaper as well as less chaotic.
  2. Use apps:  App in the Air is the leading personal travel assistant app, with which travelers can learn the ins and outs of their airports to bypass the holiday crowds and create a seamless airport travel experience. It can tell you which restaurant has the quickest service by your gate, or where the best happy hour deals are. How about which terminal is the fastest route through TSA? It’s got you. You can also check bag dimensions through augmented reality technology, receive real-time departure and arrival updates, organize itineraries and track miles flown and purchase lounge access to avoid the overcrowded gates.
  3. Meditate: Ashley Nelson is a travel and health and wellness expert and the founder of On the 10. She told Ladders that meditation always helps her stay calm. “For me I think it’s important to remember to breath and that there is someone else handling the situation so I try to meditate and put myself in a place where I can stay calm and do breathing exercises.”
  4. Stay hydrated: According to WebMD, the humidity level on airplanes is close to half the amount of normal levels, making it easy for any frequent flyer to get sick and dehydrated which can contribute to a panicked feeling. Drinking water (though alcohol may seem like a natural option for soothing reasons) and staying away from salty food is a good start but you can also try using towlettes to keep your face moist.If you are looking to try to sleep on the flight without a prescription from a doctor something like Beauty zzZz by HUM Nutrition helps you sleep and also replenishes you with vitamins. If you are sick of water opt for something like the Beyonce-approved WTRMLN WTR which has an extra boost of hydration, electrolytes, and vitamins.
  5. Drown out the chaos: Sometimes weird plane noise alone can send an anxious flier down the rabbit hole of complete panic. This is the time to invest in noise-canceling ear phones. Forbes ranks these as the best.