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Will Your Holiday Flight Be On Time?

Thanksgiving is traditionally a driving holiday: AAA estimates that some 42 million Americans will travel by car to their Thanksgiving dinners this week. But there will also be about 3.6 million people taking to the skies — and enduring security lines, potential delays and a critical lack of real estate in the overhead compartments.


INTERACTIVE: Using detailed flight data from October 2014 through September 2015, we determined the best and worst airlines, airports and routes. Look up your local hub or plan your next flight »

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Flying during the holidays can be anything but cheery, but our fastest flights finder is designed to help take the edge off. We’ve assessed airlines’ performance, delays at airports and the quickness of different routes, and we’ve just updated our tracker with the most recent year of flight data from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Our findings? Spirit Airlines’ relative performance over the past year is still suffering from a particularly brutal summer; a typical flight on Spirit added nine minutes to total travel time compared to flying other carriers between October 2014 and September 2015. Virgin America continues to be the indomitable Michael Jordan of airlines, generally saving its passengers seven minutes from gate to gate compared to its peers. And Delta was the best of the big four, shaving off four minutes on average.

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Pop over to the interactive to plan your travel over the winter holidays and to see the best airlines and airports for your upcoming trip. And enjoy your favorite regional Thanksgiving side dish on Thursday!

Ritchie King is senior editor for data visualization at FiveThirtyEight.

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.

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