The Best Time To Buy Airline Tickets For Thanksgiving

By Fareboom Staff, Wed, Nov 6, 2019

There's nothing quite like the feeling of coming home to your family on festive occasions. Sharing Thanksgiving dinner with your loved ones, roasted stuffed turkey with flavorful cranberry sauce, a decadent slice of pumpkin pie and a family to laugh and reminisce about happy moments,  is simply the best. It goes without saying that as the day approaches, the excitement levels rise, but unfortunately, so do the prices of airline tickets. Want to know when is the best time to buy airline tickets for Thanksgiving? Check out the tips below!


Plan Your Trip In The Summer

You may still be dreaming of the sunny beaches and getting your tan on but it would also be a good idea to consider planning your travel dates for the holiday season. If you do not have any other travel commitments around Thanksgiving and are confident about the dates that you wish to travel on, a good rule of thumb is to make your bookings as early as 3 months ahead of time. 


There Will Be An Increase In Price Every Month

Ideally, booking your airline tickets to meet your family on Thanksgiving is recommended in the month of September when the tickets are likely to be at the cheaper end of the price spectrum. However, if you aren’t yet sure about your travel dates and it’s likely your plans will change, then your best bet is to wait until October, even though the prices will be slightly higher than in September. But avoid putting off buying your airline tickets till the last minute, since the price hike will be the highest in November, the closer we get to Thanksgiving.


Pick The Least Expensive Days To Travel

If there is no way around your schedule and you absolutely must book last minute, you still have a chance to score a good deal and get cheaper air tickets. But there is a catch: when booking closer to Thanksgiving Day, you must aim to book on the days when airfare is cheaper compared to the other days. Research has shown that flying in 1 day before Thanksgiving and subsequently flying out the Sunday after Thanksgiving is the most expensive since most people wish to travel on those days. Ideally, you should aim to book at least 2 or more days before Thanksgiving. If you want a good bargain, you can either decide to fly out on Thanksgiving Day or on Monday after Thanksgiving. 


Pick The Right Time Of The Day To Travel

Just like the days of the week make an impact on airline pricing, the time of the day can influence the amount you pay for your flight too. If you have absolutely no choice but to book your Thanksgiving flight at the very last minute then in addition to selecting the right day, also pick a time that is less busy. For example,  flying very early in the morning or extremely late at night can help you save a few bucks. 


You Can Still Travel On Busy Days At A Cheaper Rate

The only catch here is the fact that you would have to book early. While it’s true flights on certain days around Thanksgiving tend to be much more expensive because everyone is eager to fly home, these prices are quite dynamic and can vary considerably, depending on the proximity of the D-day. 

Therefore, if you plan your travels well in advance, the same dates that can cost you a fortune could be an absolute bargain. Ideally, it is best to book your flight ticket in September as there is a very good possibility of getting the best deal for your travels. If you have no choice but to wait it out, then make sure you book your flights no later than 13 weeks from Thanksgiving to get the best deal. You would be surprised how much money you can save by booking your ticket in advance for the busiest days.


You Are Limiting Your Choices If You Book Last Minute

Keep in mind that most airlines usually have a very limited number of seats and special early bird offers. This means a large majority will often jump at the chance to secure these deals and book as soon as possible. If you are traveling solo and aren’t too particular about the kind of seats you get assigned, then this may not be an issue. However,  if you prefer to choose your seats and avoid layovers, then it's wise to book early. This is particularly important for families who would either like to be seated close together or may wish to have a direct flight to and from their destination, especially if they travel with young children. Therefore, waiting until the very last minute to book your tickets will drastically cut down your choices. 


It’s All About Location

Certain domestic places within the US tend to have varied price ranges for the same airline and dates. New York and Chicago, for instance, tend to see a whopping 40%+ increase in their airline ticket rates during the Thanksgiving holidays. The price rise is highest in Miami at 73% for the Holidays. Therefore, if you’re flying into either of these places for a delicious Turkey dinner at Thanksgiving, it is best to plan your trip well in advance and book your tickets at least by early October. This will ensure you pay a reasonable rate for your flight and stay away from exorbitantly priced journeys. Similarly, international destinations will get more expensive, especially if you’re planning to head to Cancun for the holiday, which sees a 45% hike in prices. 

If you come across a good deal, it probably is and the best thing you can do is to press the book now button and purchase your tickets as it’s unlikely you’ll find a better deal if you wait!


Avoid Those Days:

You can expect to see a minimum increase of 10% in airline ticket prices just about 20 weeks before Thanksgiving. After this mark,  the prices will continue to climb up, getting even more expensive as days go by and choices with respect to the seats and itineraries becoming more and more limited. You may want to invest some time to really research the best deals online so that you have enjoyable flying experience. There are several online websites that can help you pick the best flight by comparing the fares and benefits alongside each other to give you a clear understanding and make your decision easier. 



Average Price

Percentage increase

September 2018



November 2018



This is the average price of the most popular domestic destinations well before Thanksgiving. On average, you would pay around $272.2 for a flight to your hometown if you book your airline tickets in September. However, the same tickets for the same place but closer to Thanksgiving take a 39% jump in price and you would have to pay as much as $378.8 for the same journey. 


Concluding Remarks

You may have everything you need in your life but they all fade in comparison with sharing special moments with your family. Thanksgiving is all about coming together as a family, no matter what part of the country or the world that you now call home and sharing a delicious meal, some lighthearted moments and being thankful for all that you have. Festive times are undoubtedly stressful and the best thing that you can do to ensure that you do not add on to that stress is being prepared well in advance with your airline tickets, knowing how to organize yourself so as to ensure that you have a stress-free vacation and a much-deserved break.


Do you like being the first to know?

If you enjoy always getting the best tips, deals, and insider news before everyone else then make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.



Business hours

8:00 AM ‐ 5:00 PM PST.
Sat-Sun and National Holidays:
24/7 E-mail support:
1 (626) 256-1249
1 (626) 256-1539
23 Years of Excellence
I'm a shared tooltip!