Spring break season is right around the corner. For some, that means traveling while the kids are out of school — for others, it’s taking a much-needed break during a rather monotonous time of year.
But travelers hitting the skies in spring can have wildly different experiences, depending on the exact dates of their trips.
As RewardExpert noted, “the spring travel season can be quite unpredictable, especially as compared to travel during the weeks before and after Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
That’s why the web service (which specializes in frequent flier programs and credit card rewards), created their 2018 Spring Air Travel Forecast.
To determine the best and worst airports, airlines, and travel dates for spring breakers, the site analyzed five years of on-time performance statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the months of March, April, and May. And some of the results were pretty surprising.
The Worst Days to Travel This Spring
According to RewardExpert, travelers who have a choice when planning their spring breaks should absolutely avoid flying on March 1, 12, and 13. RewardExpert called them “historically among the worst days for travel this season.” And they’re expected to be even worse in 2018.
March 6, 30, and 31; April 3 and 7; and May 19 and 22 round out the 10 worst days to fly this spring (think: delays, crowded airports, and packed flights).
The Best Days to Travel This Spring
Improve your chances of having a quiet, on-time flight by flying in April and May, which are both generally more pleasant than March.
Despite being holidays (if you consider Earth Day a holiday), April 22 and May 28 (Memorial Day) are two of the best days to fly this spring.
RewardExpert also highlighted the dates between April 11 and April 18 as great times to fly. They are “among the least frequently delayed [and] airports are not especially busy,” the report explained.
Related article: JetBlue is having a spring sale with flights starting at $44
The Best and Worst Airlines and Airports
In the report, RewardExpert pinpointed airports in Honolulu, Salt Lake City, and Portland, Oregon as those with the top on-time performance during the spring season. In dead last were Dallas-Love Field, Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport, and Newark Liberty International Airport, outside New York City.
And while Hawaiian, Alaska, and Delta Air Lines took the top three spots for on-time performance, the low-cost carriers Southwest, Frontier, and JetBlue all fell to the bottom of the list.