Seattle Is Among the Most Popular Destinations Nationally for Thanksgiving Travelers, Study Finds

Sea-Tac also ranks as one of the airports nationwide least likely to cancel flights, which a separate study says bodes well for holiday travelers

November 25, 2019By Seattle Business Magazine

A low angle view of a blue traffic road sign with the message "Thanksgiving Ahead", against the clear blue sky.

Seattle ranks as the seventh leading domestic destination for this years Thanksgiving holiday travel, according to a study by travel-insurance company Allianz Global Assistance.

The top destination is New York, followed by Atlanta; Orlando, Florida; Los Angeles; Boston; and Dallas. Seattle came in at No. 7 for the second year in a row, according to the Allianz study, which analyzed some 2.4 million travel itineraries booked through partners offering Allianz travel insurance.

According to Allianz’s survey, the day before Thanksgiving (Wednesday, Nov. 27) remains the busiest departure day for domestic destinations, with travelers most commonly taking four-day-long trips, Alliance states.

The busy Thanksgiving travel window and the Seattle areas healthy cut of that action is among the many reasons the regions tourism industry continues to boom. In 2018, the latest full-year figures available, visitors to King County spent an estimated $7.8 billion, up 5.8% from two years earlier. Tourism-related jobs increased by 3.1 percent last year, to 78,400. King County was a destination for a total of 21.3 million overnight visitors last year, according to Visit Seattle.

A related study by travel insurance platform InsureMyTrip, ranks Sea-Tac airport as one of the U.S. airports least likely to cancel flights over the Thanksgiving holiday, based on an analysis of flight cancellations per airport so far in 2019. Chicago Midway International airport topped the list, with the highest cancellation rate, followed by Chicago OHare International; William P. Hobby airport in Houston; and Newark Liberty International airport in Newark, New Jersey.

Honolulus Daniel K. Inouye International airport ranked as the airport with the lowest-cancellation rate among the 75 domestic airports analyzed, just ahead of Hawaiis Kahului Airport (74); Salt Lake City International (73); and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport (72) with Sea-Tac airport coming in at No. 67 in the rankings, just behind No. 66 Minneapolis-St. Paul International.

Flights scheduled for departure between 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. are more susceptible to delays and cancellations, the InsureMyTrip study found.