Houston Airports is ready to set new travel record this Thanksgiving. Travelers urged to do two things!

With 2.4 million passengers expected during the holiday period, Houston Airports is ready to set new trends, including single busiest travel days.

November 1, 2023

Houston Airports is preparing to welcome its largest Thanksgiving holiday travel crowd on record, exceeding the passenger total set in 2019. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) expect a combined 2.4M travelers during the busiest holiday travel season of the year, a 6% increase from the same period in 2019 and an 11% increase from 2022.

The extended Thanksgiving holiday travel period for Houston Airports begins on Thursday, November 16 and ends Tuesday, November 28. During the 13-day period, Hobby Airport is forecasted to serve approximately 540,000 travelers while Bush Airport is expected to welcome more than 1.8M passengers.  

In the past, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving has been one of the busiest travel days. But this year, according to airline seat capacity, the traveling public is more flexible when scheduling air travel for the Thanksgiving holiday break. And, although children are still in school in the first days of the holiday travel period, a large number of travelers are choosing to book flights earlier this year to beat the rush. 

This year, the Friday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday are forecasted to be the single busiest air travel days in Houston. On Friday, November 17, Houston’s airports will welcome more than 200,000 passengers. On Sunday, November 26, Houston’s airports will be ready to greet more than 212,000 passengers. 

For those considering last-minute travel, Thanksgiving and the Tuesday after Thanksgiving are expected to be the single slowest air travel days in Houston. Houston Airports is anticipating 125,000 passengers on November 23 and about 165,000 passengers on November 28. 

Preparing for your visit to Houston's airports

  • Reserve parking online and at least 12 hours in advance of arriving to the airport 

  • Arrive at the airport early

1) More people flying in and out of Houston’s airports means more people will be parking at the airport, checking their luggage, accessing ticketing counters and going through TSA security screening. 

2) More people are also predicted to be on Houston-area roads, which can impact travel times to the airport. 

3) Construction of the new international terminal continues at Bush Airport. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving semi-trucks will be delivering multi-ton pieces of steel trusses to Bush Airport. As a matter of safety, these deliveries must happen during the daylight hours. 

Download the new and free Houston Airports app! You can reserve parking, keep tabs on your parking space, monitor TSA wait times in real time, and find dining options available in a specific terminal.