FAA Ready for a Busy Holiday Travel Season

Thursday, December 14, 2023

WASHINGTON — This festive holiday season, the Federal Aviation Administration predicts most fliers will take off the Thursday before Christmas. 

Holiday travel forecast

Holiday traffic for the Christmas week will peak on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023 with 48,959 flights. The next highest travel day will be Friday, Dec. 22 with 43,953 flights and Tuesday, Dec. 26 is forecast to have 41,028 flights. 

Despite a major increase in flights this year, delays and cancellations remain lower than even pre-pandemic levels.

While delays and cancellations are low, they do happen. Check the status of your flight and get important travel tips before heading to the airport on our Holiday Travel web page

The FAA reminds travelers to be patient, give themselves extra time at the airport, and pack safely this holiday season. 

  • Be Patient: Federal law prohibits interfering with aircraft crew or physically assaulting or threatening to physically assault aircraft crew or anyone else on an aircraft. Follow all crewmember instructions. Failing to do so can result in civil penalties, criminal fines and imprisonment. The FAA has zero tolerance for unruly behavior.
  • Pay close attention to what’s in your bag. Some common toiletries that passengers pack could be hazardous. Check your bags for aerosol cans that may contain hair spray, deodorant, tanning spray or animal repellant, nail polish, artist paints and glues.
  • E-cigarettes, vaping devices, and spare lithium batteries are not authorized to be packed in checked luggage. Spare lithium batteries – the kind that are found in personal electronic devices and back-up charging devices – can only travel in carry-on baggage.
  • Electronic devices powered by lithium batteries can catch fire if they are damaged or have exposed electrical terminals. The FAA recommends that passengers keep cell phones and other devices nearby in the cabin to quickly access them if necessary. 

For more information about unruly passengers, please visit our Unruly Passenger page on the FAA website. 

For detailed information about materials that should not fly, check out our Pack Safe: When in Doubt, Leave it Out video, the FAA's PackSafe website, and the FAA’s Hazardous Materials Safety website.