Here are the busiest travel days over the holiday season, according to Airlines for America

People wait in line at an airport in a file photo. (Shutterstock)

If you're planning to travel one of these three days, pack your patience.

Airlines for America has named Sunday, Jan. 3; Friday, Dec. 18 and Sunday, Dec. 27 as the three busiest travel days of the 2015-2016 holiday season. An estimated 38.1 million people, equivalent to about one-tenth of the U.S. population, are estimated to fly this holiday season.

The announcement came as part of the travel forecast released by the airline trade organization this week. The study, which looked at the 17-day period of Dec. 18 to Jan. 3, said you can expect 73,000 more passengers per day compared to last year.

The good news is that the reason more people are booking flights is because it's less expensive, said John Heimlich, Vice President and Chief Economist for Airlines for America.

"We attribute the increase to the improving economy and the fact that airfare remains affordable, having declined 4.3 percent through the first nine months of the year," he said.

Travelers can anticipate the biggest crowds when passing through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, the organization said.


If you're traveling on a busy day or going through a busy airport, there are ways to make your trip go as smoothly as possible. Know what items the TSA allows and does not allow, and pack in a way that will get you through airport security more quickly, like leaving presents unwrapped. You can also know what wait time to expect by checking the crowd-sourced estimated wait times on TSA's app.

More holiday travel tips

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