The busiest travel day of the year in the US domestic market will be Sunday, November 26, 2023, during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to a recent analysis by aviation analytics and airline schedules data firm Cirium.

More than 3,000,000 seats and 22,000 flights will be flown domestically in the U.S. on that date, higher than peak travel days in summer 2023.

Thanksgiving week

The major US carriers will fly 7% more seats during the Wednesday-Sunday of Thanksgiving week in 2023 compared to 2022.

The data is sourced from Cirium’s Diio Mi Schedules System, widely used in aviation to analyze airline schedules for more than 1,300 airlines worldwide.

International travel figures also show strong growth during Thanksgiving week 2023 compared to 2022. Travel from the US to Caribbean resort destinations by all carriers will increase by 14% on seats flown this Thanksgiving compared to last. Similarly, travel from the US to Europe shows 12% more available seats flown.

Cirium historical fare data

In addition, recent third-party media reporting indicated weakness in bookings, with lower average prospective fares than in Q4 2022. Cirium’s historical fare data indicates that US domestic airfares has been stable in 2023, with a peak average fare of $188 in August 2023, and the lowest average fare being $176 in March 2023.

In the US domestic market, Cirium analysis of airfares for 2023, to-date, showed the average airfare for US economy tickets was $182, one-way, non-directionally, not including taxes and fees. This compares to an average fare of $159 in 2022 for the same period. Accordingly, airfares are up 14% year over year.

The 11 major US airlines have had strong operational performance in November 2023 (to November 16, 2023) with an average on-time performance of 86.28%. A flight is considered on-time when it arrives before 14:59 of its scheduled arrival time, commonly known in the airline industry as “A14.” November’s performance to date bodes well for travellers in the US in advance of this coming Thanksgiving holiday period.
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