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Hail to the King Midget

There's really nothing like a humiliating incident that has oxidized into a funny story. I learned this early on from my father, whose timing and delivery is largely influenced by mid-80s John Candy. During car trips or any other kind of captive audience scenario, we'd beg him to burst into a rendition of "the King Midget story."

The short version is that his father had a brief infatuation with this very special kind of vehicle (the King Midget!), and mortified his children by insisting on driving them to school in the thing (you can see why Uncle Buck was a healing movie for my father). Of course, upon seeing actual pictures of the car, my sister and I were obsessed with somehow recreating this moment. We had to be driven to school in a King Midget! This was a car that came in a kit! You could assemble it in your garage just like a Big Wheel!

Unfortunately, Midget Motor Corporation stopped making them in 1970, so we never got our wish; however, The International King Midget Car Club, Inc. keeps the dream alive, offering--could it be true?--vendors who will still peddle Midgets: "King Midgets bought, sold, restored. No King Midget too rusty!!" and urging members to: "Relive the Memories." First of all: anyone who has a King Midget experience, please share. Secondly: were any of you embarrassed to be driven to school in something your parents drove?

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Here Are the Best and Worst Days for Christmas Travel
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Flight delays are always a hassle, but the holidays add an extra layer of stress. No one wants to be stuck at the airport while their family is digging into Christmas dinner. And even if you fly long before the holiday itself, airports are always more hectic during the holiday season. Between the high volume of travelers and the whims of winter weather, getting off the ground doesn’t necessarily feel like a given when you leave for the airport.

But not all airports and days are equally prone to flight issues, according to U.S. Bureau of Transportation data from the last five years, as analyzed by the electric supply company Elite Fixtures, which previously analyzed the worst airports for Thanksgiving travel.

A green chart lists travel delays and flight cancellation statistics by date.
Elite Fixtures

On average, you’re less likely to be delayed if you’re traveling the week before Christmas or on the holiday itself, the data shows. December 25 has actually had the lowest percentage (18 percent) of delayed flights over the last five years, giving you a good excuse if you want to flee to the airport directly after your family’s holiday meal. Traveling December 18 and 19 is also a good idea, since only 26 percent of flights are typically delayed on those days.

A red chart details travel delay and cancellation statistics by date.
Elite Fixtures

Beware the 22nd and 23rd of December, though. On those days, an average of 32 percent and 34 percent of flights get delayed, respectively. The few days after Christmas are also likely to stick you with an annoying delay—33 and 34 percent of flights are delayed on the 26th and 27th.

A green-and-gray U.S. map highlights the 10 best airports for holiday travel with plane icons.
Elite Fixtures

Airlines don’t encounter flight difficulties in equal measure across all airports, though. If you’re flying through one of the airports above, congratulations! The likelihood of getting delayed is less than at the Houston or Oakland airports, both hubs with the highest rates of holiday flight delays in the U.S.

Unfortunately, no matter what day you fly and where you fly from, there's no way to really predict whether your flight will leave on time. You'll just have to hope that Santa brings you the seamless holiday travel experience you put on your Christmas list.

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Mapped: The 10 Airports Where You’re Most Likely to Get Stuck Over Thanksgiving
William Thomas Cain/Getty Images
William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Every year, some unlucky Americans end up stranded at U.S. airports trying to get home for Thanksgiving. But your risk of getting stuck at the airport for hours on end varies depending on where you’re flying. Using five years of data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Elite Fixtures collected statistics on the worst airports to travel through around the Thanksgiving holiday, a time when airports are traditionally at their busiest.

The results show that delays aren't necessarily tied to the airports where the weather tends to be worst or those that see the most passengers. What airline you are flying, whether you’re on a regional flight, and the route you’re traveling can all affect your likelihood of getting stuck, and so the percentage of short-haul flights or the number of, say, Delta flights out of a certain airport might affect its overall score negatively. Still, you might want to avoid airports like Chicago’s Midway or the Oakland airport. Good luck with Houston or Dallas, too.

Below, the 10 worst:

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