Return of Holiday Travel
Well, it’s official. The pandemic travel slump is over, as Thanksgiving travel is expected to hit 98% of pre-pandemic volume, according to the American Automobile Association.
AAA expects 54.6 million total people to travel during the holidays this year, which would make it the third busiest year since 2000.
Of this volume, 49 million Americans are likely driving to their destination, 4.5 million people plan to fly, and the rest will travel by some other form.
A Thanksgiving Surprise
With inflation and gas prices sitting at record highs, this strong travel news may come as a surprise. The pricing pinch on everyday expenses — not to mention historically high ticket prices and staffing shortages at major airlines — evidently did not have a tangible impact on travel volume.
After two years of quarantine, it appears that traveling home is a non-negotiable for many people. To pay for pricey tickets and gas, industry insiders expect that consumers are prioritizing travel plans while cutting back on other expenses like dining out, shopping, and daily driving.
Where Do You Fly Out Of?
With so many Americans hitting the skies, the Wall Street Journal handed out report cards that ranked America’s airports on factors like security waits, flights delayed, and ticket prices.
In terms of large airports, San Francisco and Atlanta came out on top, while Newark and NYC’s infamously busy JFK crowded the bottom of the list.
For mid-sized airports, California locations triumphed once again with Sacramento, San Diego, and San Jose comprising the top three. Similarly, NYC continued to suffer, with LaGuardia coming in dead last.
You probably can’t help which airport you fly into or out of. But, if you live in California, it’s worth noting: survey says you have it easy. And, for those East Coast vacationers especially prone to travel headaches, it might be time to consider driving instead.
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