I decided to make some graphs of how many people are traveling this Thanksgiving after seeing people sharing this video and making assumptions.
Some people seemed panicked about how many flights there are, while others went on about it being inaccurate fear mongering. While I wont look into that last bit, as a fan of aviation and numbers I do believe this map is entirely useless when thinking about how many people are traveling. This map shows how many planes are in the sky, but says nothing about how many people are actually traveling.
- Is this all passenger planes, or does it include cargo as well?
- How many people are on each plane?
- How does this compare to last year?
Instead, lets look at how many people are actually moving around this week. The TSA publishes a count of passengers who pass through security checkpoints everyday. This is exactly the information you want to be looking at, actual passenger numbers. This graph shows total passengers who traveled each weekday leading up to Thanksgiving.
If you are going to be debating or making assumptions about how many people have traveled by air, share this graph instead of the map.