best and worst airports and airlines for Christmas travel

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s nearly here! Families all around the country are putting up their Christmas trees and festive decorations. More importantly, they are starting to schedule their holiday get-together.

Many of us will be traveling to see family this Christmas. However, long lines, travel delays, and cancellations can put you in a less than festive mood. In the spirit of the season, we want to put you at ease by giving you the lowdown on some of the best and worst airports and airlines for Christmas travel.

We took a look at government data from 2017 and analyzed every departing flight at the 50 busiest airports in the country. Read on to know what the best and worst airports and airlines are during Christmas!

Fly with a Smile

Best airports for Christmas Travel map

You’re in luck if you live in the South! You will find six of the top 10 best airports for Christmas travel in this region. Talk about southern hospitality.

Airports with least delayed and canceled flights - data

Texas is the holiday travel champ! George Bush Intercontinental Airport is the best for Thanksgiving travel in our previous study. It’s the best for Christmas travel as well with only 31% of its flights delayed and only 0.19% of its flights canceled over the festive period.

Get Ready to Wait it Out

Worst airports for Christmas travel map

You’re more likely to depart from one of the worst airports in the country for Christmas travel if you live in the Midwest. It has three of the top 10 worst airports.

Airports with worst flight delays and cancellations chart

Dallas Love Field can turn anyone into Scrooge by being the worst airport in the country for Christmas travel. The numbers say it all with 76% of its flights delayed, and 0.99% of flights canceled over Christmas time.

Similarly, we’re not feeling the festive cheer with Chicago Midway. This airport might make some Windy City residents very unhappy this Christmas with 75% of flights delayed, and 2.74% of flights canceled!

Tips for Your Christmas Trip

Airline comparison data for Christmas travel

Consider yourself lucky if you haven’t bought your airplane tickets yet! Virgin America may be your best bet if you want to avoid Christmas travel delays. It has the lowest percentage with just 33% of flights delayed during this time.

Southwest Airlines is hands down the worst airline for Christmas travel with a massive 65% of flights delayed. You might miss out on all of the Christmas festivities if you fly with them during the holidays! Hard Money Property and Rooted Mama Health both commented on Southwest Airlines and told us horror stories about their flights being delayed during the holiday season so be careful flying during the holidays.

The best days to travel around Christmas graphic

This piece of information may come as a surprise, but traveling on Christmas Eve is actually the best day to fly with only 39% of flights delayed.

Interestingly, the third best day to fly is on Christmas itself with only 41% of flights delayed. We can’t imagine why anyone would want to spend the most wonderful day of the year in the air. Unless, you have a very short flight!

The worst days to travel around Christmas

Plan Your Route Ahead of Time

Don’t book those travel tickets just yet without reading this. You’re flying the best Christmas travel route in the country if you’re in the South and flying from New Orleans to Houston with only 17% of flights delayed. However, if you’re flying from Dallas to San Antonio, you might arrive to find that the only unopened gifts under the tree are yours! This Christmas travel route has 86% of flights delayed.

We crunched the numbers to come up with the best Christmas travel experience possible. We recommend you fly out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport using Virgin America on Christmas Eve. There’s a huge chance you’ll avoid delays with this combination. In short, you’ll be with your loved ones in good time for Christmas.

We hope this helps with your holiday travel plans! If you’re staying home, share this guide with your friends and family who need it. A very Merry Christmas and safe travels from all of us at Treetopia!

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