hands holding folded clothes in a suitcase

17 million passengers, 115,500 flights and every single person crossing their fingers.

According to data from analytics company Cirium, August 9th will be the busiest global air travel day of the year. As you may have suspected, 2019 is already set to become the busiest year in air travel history as well. Here’s a fascinating collection of statistics and hot tips to help you navigate the busiest day of the year, and perhaps find a date when tickets are up to 19% cheaper.

July and August will feature nearly 7,000,000 flights this year and transport roughly a billion people. The next time you wonder why the airline hasn’t gotten back to you, it may be worth considering that shocking fact, though it hardly excuses their behaviour when things go wrong!

people sitting in a terminal

Intriguingly, Beijing, Atlanta, Dubai, Los Angeles and Tokyo-Haneda are set to become the world’s busiest airports for this time of year, with up to 51,000,000 passengers passing through these major airports alone during these two busy months.

So who is everyone flying with? During July and August, American, Delta, United, Southwest and Ryanair will fly 192,000,000 passengers just between them, making these airlines the largest summer travel operations. As to UK matters, August 23rd, the day airline strikes loom, is set to be the busiest travel date of the year. In a fascinating twist, EasyJet will transport more summer travellers than BA on this record breaking day, with 105,000 and 102,000 respectively.

Now that you’ve got great factoids for pub quizzes and whoever sits next to you on a future flight, it’s time to talk about how to avoid becoming one of these insane summer travel statistics, or rather – why you should consider that notion.

Data from Hipmunk, a leading travel booking app found that international airfares are 19% cheaper on average if you avoid peak summer months, instead travelling during “shoulder season”. In case it’s a travel term you’re not familiar with, shoulder season is the time in between peak and off peak.

For top destinations like North America, or Europe, shoulder season is generally September through October and then January through March. Hipmunk even cites a few destinations primed for fall travel bargains, like Nairobi with 37% savings, Milan with 34% savings, Tokyo with 26% in savings and Paris with a solid 33% saved on average.

a tower with trees in front of it

In addition to airfare, accommodations are almost always cheaper during this valuable season, so it’s worth considering staying home for peak summer, and employing the buzzing “micro trip” technique.

If you are travelling during this next busy month, be sure to double, triple and quadruple check for flight changes and also make sure contact details are correct. The majority of things that go majorly wrong start with an airline not being able to get in touch. If you find yourself delayed on trips to or from Europe, don’t forget that you’re also potentially eligible for up to €600 per passenger, if the delay is the fault of the airline, and not weather. Happy travels.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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1 Comment

  1. August 9th? Go figure. Or is that like the “Free Food tomorrow” sign that never changes? “Tomorrow is the busiest Air Travel Day of the Year.” Yeah, tomorrow.

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