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Thanksgiving Boom Towns

Thanksgiving Boom Towns
Reuters

Thanksgiving is a traveler's holiday. According to the American Automobile Association, 42.5 million people are expected to drive, fly or ride trains this weekend. Which cities bear the brunt of this temporary migration?

Well, it depends on the mode of transportation. A majority of Americans will drive to their Turkey Day destination of choice. For them, the most popular cities are (in order of popularity): Orlando, Anaheim, Las Vegas, New York, and Washington, D.C., according to AAA.

What about flying? Here, the numbers tell a different story. We looked at Bureau of Transportation Statistics data that showed how many flights landed in each U.S. city last year on Thanksgiving Day, as well as the Tuesday and Wednesday before. Las Vegas was the big winner, followed closely behind by Chicago and Phoenix. A couple of caveats—the data we had shows only on-time flights. So some hubs, like Atlanta and New York, may not be adequately represented because so many of their flights were delayed. And the data also doesn't indicate whether the passengers of a given flight are at their final destination, or whether they'll be connecting, so there's likely a skew here toward the top cities where people are changing planes as well.

The chart below shows the top ten U.S. cities where flights landed on Thanksgiving weekend, 2010:

Photo credit: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Amanda Erickson is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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