If You Want to Avoid Crowds at the Airport, Skip These Holiday Travel Days

We all know there's a big trade-off for holiday travel. Yes, you get to spend the most joyous time of the year with friends and family, but it comes at the cost of having to slog through crowded airports and deal with canceled and delayed flights. Sure, we're thankful for modern air travel, but those are the sorts of things we'd much rather do without.

Well, luckily, there's some new data out about which holiday travel days are the worst for traveling. At the busiest airports in the U.S., these are the days you should stay home and skip traveling according to new data from AirHelp:

  • Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL): Dec. 29
  • Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD): Dec. 22
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX): Jan. 2
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW): Jan. 2
  • Denver International Airport (DEN): Dec. 22
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT): Dec. 27
  • Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH): Dec. 29
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO): Dec. 22
  • New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK): Dec. 21
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR): Dec. 22

More: Tales From a Flight Attendant: Surviving Holiday Travel

As far as the best time to travel goes, you should look to book flights that leave between 6 a.m. and 11:59 a.m. That's great news if you hate red-eyes, less great news if the thought of getting to the airport in time for a 6 a.m. flight makes you want to cry.

There is more good news, though. If you do get to the airport and your flight is overbooked or if your flight is delayed, you may actually be able to get some money out of it. According to AirHelp, "If you are denied boarding because too many passengers checked in for the flight, and you don’t volunteer to deplane or take another flight, you can be eligible for compensation of up to $1,350." You can also be compensated up to $675 if your flight is delayed 1 to 2 hours or up to $1,350 if it's more than two hours. That would definitely help us take a few travel hiccups in stride!

More: The Astrologists Guide to Planning Your Next Holiday

Still feeling nervous about your holiday travel plans? Use this checklist to make sure everything goes smoothly.

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