Go Home or Stay In – The Big Thanksgiving Question

  • Highest surge in student traffic was experienced by Hancock airport followed by Tallahassee IA and Boston Logan IA.
  • Contrary to their behavior during early reopening where they chose to stay indoors, Millennials contributed maximum footfall traffic at airports during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Even though CDC recommended a local thanksgiving while connecting virtually with your loved ones, millions of Amercians travelled during the Thanksgiving weekend. Although majority of them preferred to take the safer option of driving to their destinations, still TSA screened more than a 1 million folks at airports only for the second time since march.  

We analyzed the movement of holiday travellers through Airports during the Thanksgiving weekend in between 22nd to 30th November to understand their behavior in detail.

Let’s see what the data reveals.

Who and what of the footfall surge at the Airports.

Percentage change in footfall during week of 23rd Nov to 30th Nov from 16th Nov to 22nd Nov

  • Overall there was a surge of 15% in footfall at airports during the Thanksgiving week when compared to the previous week. 
  • The maximum surge was experienced on 25th and 29th November owing to travel and return days respectively.

Showing the airport footfall breakup by profile.

  • Given that Thanksgiving is more of a family holiday, it was only fitting that the highest footfall can be attributed to parents traveling to be with their loved ones.

Airports with highest increase in number of student passengers heading back home

  • Highest surge in student traffic was experienced by Hancock airport followed by Tallahassee IA and Boston Logan IA. CDC had explicitly shared warning messages aimed towards students travelling home as they might bring COVID with them.

Top 3 airports by change in Professionals footfall

  • Salt Lake City experienced the highest increase in the footfall of professional passengers.

Millennials take the lead in Thanksgiving travel.

Age Breakup of Passengers at Airports

  • Contrary to their behavior during early reopening where they chose to stay indoors, Millennials contributed maximum footfall traffic at airports during the Thanksgiving weekend.

%age Change in Dwell Time at Airports during Thanksgiving Week

  • On an aggregate level, overall the dwell time saw a surge during the Thanksgiving week. 
  • There was an overlap in the day on which maximum dwell time increased and traffic surge was observed. Making 29th November the busiest day during the thanksgiving week.

States with largest displacement for Thanksgiving from Home Locations

  • Georgia witnessed a massive displacement of 18% during the holiday season.

Understanding whether this behavior is an immediate effect of holidays or a long-term shift is yet to be determined. Studying these visitation trends over longer periods of time can help brands stay relevant and plan for the future.

In case you missed our global analyses on the changing behavior of people in the real-world amid COVID-19, please download it here.

Disclaimer: The data is used to measure the impact on businesses and consumer behavior and is not an explanation for the infection rates. If you choose to reuse our analysis, please contextualize it and attribute the content to Near. Near’s data platform is privacy-by-design and the data is gathered from real-world signals in an anonymized and aggregated form.