Thanksgiving travel fever has returned to the United States this year, as the public once again fills airports regardless of inflation to reunite with family members after two years of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But changes in work and rest habits can disperse the crowd and reduce the usual stress of this season.
According to experts, many people will start their travels earlier or return home later because they will spend a few days working remotely, or at least tell their bosses that they are working remotely.
The busiest days of Thanksgiving week are usually the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday after the holidays. This year, the Federal Aviation Administration expected Tuesday to be the busiest day with 48,000 scheduled flights.
Chris Williams, of Raleigh, North Carolina, flew to Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and two children on Tuesday morning to spend the holidays with his extended family.
“Of course it’s a very stressful and expensive time to fly,” said Williams, 44, who works in finance. “Of course, after two years of wasting nothing to spend Thanksgiving with our family, we’re grateful that everything is safer and we can go.” be with your loved ones again.”
The Transportation Security Administration registered more than 2.6 million passengers on Monday, compared to 2.5 million on the Monday before Thanksgiving 2019. The same trend was seen on Sunday, when passenger numbers at airports during the holiday week exceeded pre-pandemic levels. .
“People travel on different days, not every Wednesday night,” said Sharon Pinkerton, group vice president of Airlines for America. “They’re spreading their trips over the week, which I think will help operations run more smoothly.”
The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that 54.6 million people will be traveling at least 80 kilometers from home this week; this is 1.5% more than last year and only 2% less than in 2019. million by plane between Wednesday and Sunday.
Airlines have also struggled to cope with the increasing number of passengers this year. According to Pinkerton, the airlines have adjusted their flights and hired thousands of employees and now have more pilots than before the pandemic.
However, airlines plan to operate 13% fewer flights this week than the week of Thanksgiving in 2019. According to travel researcher Cirium, they’re using larger planes to do this, and the number of seats will drop by just 2%.
The Transportation Security Administration expects airports to be busier this year, possibly on par with 2019, when around 2.9 million passengers on the Sunday before Thanksgiving saw an all-time record.
Those who will take the helm or planes also do not seem to be concerned about higher gas prices or airfares or inflation or the economy. This is already leading to the prediction of a strong travel season for Christmas and New Year.
“This demand is real and not going away. That’s what keeps planes full and prices high,” said Tom Hall, co-author of Lonely Planet, a travel guide publication.
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