Busiest travel days of the year: Rush may be more spread out

The tourist peak for Thanksgiving has begun.

More people on planes and highways are expected during Thanksgiving than last year, but changing routines around work and play can relax crowds and reduce stress levels Usually when traveling during the holiday season.

Travel experts say the pandemic and many people’s ability to work remotely have blurred the lines between business and travel. They think many people will start their vacation early or return home later than usual because they’ll be spending a few days working remotely — or at least telling their boss they’re working remotely.

The busiest travel days during Thanksgiving week are usually the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday after the holiday. This year, the Federal Aviation Administration predicts Tuesday will be the busiest travel day with about 48,000 scheduled flights.

It looks like the peak started earlier this year, when the Transportation Security Administration screened nearly 2.33 million travelers on Sunday. This is the first year that the number of people traveling by plane has surpassed the figure of 2.32 million shown on the Sunday before Thanksgiving 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“People are traveling on different days. “Not everyone was traveling that Wednesday night,” said Sharon Pinkerton, senior vice president of commercial group Airlines for America. “People are allocating their rides throughout the week, which I also think will help ensure a smoother operation.”

James Daly of Mission Viejo, California, flew to Oakland on Monday with his wife and two young children, off to a good start because airfares are cheaper that way. Daly, a teacher who takes the week off, said they are also taking advantage of his wife’s ability to work remotely.

Daly, who was traveling to see her parents and extended family flying in from Ireland, said: “The economy is a bit worrisome but that’s life. “Things are getting back to normal since COVID… So you want to be part of that fun and part of those relationships.”

AAA predicts that 54.6 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home in the US this week, up 1.5% from last year’s Thanksgiving and just 2% less than in 2019. Automakers and insurance sellers say nearly 49 million of those will travel by car and 4.5 million will fly Wednesday through Sunday.

US airlines have struggled to keep up as passenger numbers spike this year.

“We’ve had a challenging summer,” said Pinkerton, whose team represents members of American, United and Delta. She says airlines have reduced their schedules and hired thousands of workers – they now have more pilots than before the pandemic. “As a result, we are confident that this week will go well.”

US airlines plan to operate 13% fewer flights this week than Thanksgiving week 2019. However, by using larger-than-average planes, the number of seats will be limited. down 2%, according to data from travel researcher Cirium.

Airlines continue to blame flight disruptions on a lack of air traffic controllers, especially in Florida, a major holiday destination.

Controllers, who work for the Federal Aviation Administration, “are checked on holidays. That seemed to be where we were challenged,” Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle said a few days ago. “The FAA is adding 10% to the headcount, hopefully that will be enough.”

Transport Minister Pete Buttigieg has denied such claims, saying the vast majority of delays and cancellations are caused by the airlines themselves.

TSA expects airports to be busier than last year and possibly on par with 2019. The busiest day in TSA’s history came on the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2019, when nearly 2.9 million people are screened at airport checkpoints.

“There’s a lot of hustle and bustle,” said Corliss King, a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines in Chicago. “We are on high alert for unruly behavior” – airlines have filed 8,000 reports of disruptive passengers in the past two years – “but I hope that people will be patient and it will work out.” make traveling during the holiday less stressful”.

Those who get behind the wheel or board a plane don’t appear to be baffled by last year’s higher gas and airfare prices or by widespread concerns about inflation and the economy. That has led to predictions of a sharp increase in visitor numbers over Christmas and New Year.

“This pent-up need to travel is still a real thing. “I don’t feel like it’s disappearing,” said Tom Hall, senior vice president and writer of Lonely Planet, a travel guide publisher. “That keeps the plane full, which keeps prices high.”

Associated Press staff writer Alexandra Olson in New York and AP video journalist Terence Chea in Oakland, California contributed to this report.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/nation-world/thanksgiving-might-bring-holiday-travel-habit-changes/507-895158a8-7f2f-4ebd-b7dc-e343aa3a6e7b Busiest travel days of the year: Rush may be more spread out

Edmund DeMarche

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