Few travel issues expected for Thanksgiving weekend | Davidson County


NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – If you’re waiting until Wednesday night after work to travel to visit family and friends, it will be a great travel forecast as well. Clouds stick around with temperatures in the low 50s. It will still be breezy with the wind dying down through the evening.

Across the country, there haven’t been much travel hazards. A little rain has started in the Midwest and that system will bring us rain across Middle Tennessee on Thanksgiving Day.

If you are traveling on Thursday, give yourself a little time as you will have slick roads from the rain across the Midstate.

Things look quiet across the country on Black Friday and into the weekend, so travelers flying shouldn’t see any airport delays.

On Thanksgiving, the rain will move in later in the morning. Our temperatures will be colder than in years past. The last four Thanksgivings temperatures have been in the mid 60s.

On Thursday, plan for it to be a little chillier with highs only reaching the low 50s and rain showers sticking around through the evening.

 

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Wednesday, Friday expected to be biggest travel days for El Paso International Airport


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) This holiday season the Spokesperson for the City of El Paso says Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Friday following Thanksgiving Day are expected to be the busiest at the El Paso International Airport

“Already this year, travel stats on some days have reached pre-pandemic levels. To put the upward air travel growth trend in perspective, our latest operating report shows an impressive increase of 120.4% compared to September 2020 for total passenger traffic. Year-to-date total passenger traffic is also up 73.1% as compared to the same time last year…”

Tammy Fonce, City of El Paso Spokesperson

AAA says 3.9 million Texans are expected to travel for Thanksgiving, with the majority driving, not flying.

“Of that, 3.6 million about 92 percent will drive to their destination, 230,000 Texans are going to fly to their Thanksgiving destination, and another 50,000 or so will take a train, a bus, or a cruise because cruises are back open and that’s also contributing to the higher travel volume that we’re seeing,” said Daniel Armbruster the Spokesperson for AAA Texas and New Mexico.

According to a an AP story, more than 2.2 million travelers streamed through airport checkpoints last Friday, the busiest day since the pandemic devastated travel early last year.

From Friday through Tuesday, the number of people flying in the U.S. was more than double the same days last year and less than 9% lower than the same days in 2019.

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Long lines expected at O’Hare, Midway


Good news for air travelers this week: the Transportation Safety Administration is now reporting 93% of its workforce is in compliance with the federal worker vaccine mandate.

That means there at least won’t be a shortage of staff when going through security this holiday season. However, lines are still going to be long this week.

“Even more people are coming out of the woodwork to return to normal whereas Thanksgiving is about 90% of pre-pandemic, Christmas could be closer to 100 percent pre-pandemic,” said DePaul University’s Joseph Schweiterman.

The Chicago Department of Aviation estimates O’Hare and Midway will welcome more than twice the number of passengers than last year, with O’Hare expecting to see 1.2 million travelers Tuesday through Monday.

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Schweiterman said prices this week are fairly average, but — if your family allows it — travel on Thanksgiving or Friday morning. He said the airfare is cheap, like it will be in early December until about the 15th.

“There’s going to be some real value out there, starting Monday or Tuesday until December 15th because there’s kind of a vacuum without business travelers and pleasure travelers who tend to stay home at that period,” said Schweiterman.

Schweiterman says don’t forget about trains, buses and rental cars as options for travel this holiday season — all are comparable to airfare.

If you are flying, a few tips: wear your mask, arrive early and take public transportation to get where you need to go.



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Holidays expected to boost travel | News


HIGH POINT — High Point is preparing to benefit from a strong holiday season as forecasters predict a rebound in holiday travel this Thanksgiving.

Visit High Point staff members have noticed an uptick in phone calls and visits to the visitors center looking for shopping opportunities, Visit High Point President Melody Burnett said.

“We know that there is a lot of pent-up demand for travel, especially for visitors in the leisure market,” Burnett said. “We have some leisure opportunities throughout the week with visitors who are looking to update their space before the holidays, so we direct them to the 58-plus furniture stores in town.”

For the weekend, events like the Uptowne Holiday Stroll, Kersey Valley Christmas, Christmas with John Berry, the High Point Ballet’s “Nutcracker” and “A Christmas Carol” will make it attractive to tack on a day visit or overnight stay in High Point, Burnett said. Many High Point visitors like to stop here on their way to larger destinations such as Asheville or Myrtle Beach, Burnett said.

According to the Destination Analysts, which studies travel and tourism trends, the number of Americans who plan to take a trip during the Thanksgiving holiday has more than doubled compared to 2020, even surpassing 2019 numbers. Last year at this time, many people stayed home or went to small family gatherings for turkey, stuffing and traditional Thanksgiving fixings. This year, the wide availability of COVID-19 vaccinations has made people feel more comfortable about travel.

AAA predicts 53.4 million Americans will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020. This brings travel numbers within 5% of the pre-pandemic numbers for 2019. For North Carolina, AAA forecasts nearly 1.5 million people in the state will travel for Thanksgiving, a 13% rebound from the 2020 holiday and only 2% below pre-pandemic numbers.

“We expect a strong holiday travel season as the health officials have given travelers the confidence to resume their visiting without restriction,” Burnett said. “Taking a road trip to visit friends and family and shopping are activities that Americans view as safe and budget-friendly during the holiday season. Furthermore, 35% of travelers who visit friends and family will stay in a hotel, which has more local spending impact opportunities for our community.”

The rebound also is getting closer to pre-pandemic levels for air travel, Piedmont Triad International Airport Executive Director Kevin Baker said.

“Based on projected seat totals, it appears that we may get close to 85% of 2019 passenger levels,” Baker said.

At the November PTI Airport Authority board meeting, board members learned the number of passengers was up 135% in October from October 2020, though still 27% less than October 2019.

The total number of departing PTI passengers currently expected for December 2021 is 90,339, nearly double the 48,988 in December 2020 but down 20% from December 2019.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport expects more than 234,000 passengers will pass through the airport Monday through Sunday of Thanksgiving week, about 53,000 less than the same week in 2019 but more than twice as many as last year’s 103,000. Overall, passenger traffic at RDU is still off about 25% from pre-pandemic levels.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s Thanksgiving holiday travel numbers are nearly on par with pre-pandemic numbers from 2019, airport officials said.

At PTI, Baker said business conferences, seminars and trade shows need to return fully to return to normal levels.

“Leisure travel was fully rebounded (and in some cases outpaced 2019 numbers) months ago, but business travel is much slower to return,” Baker said.

“Our area partners are seeing an uptick in group and social meetings that plan to book now and into 2022,” she said. “It may be the spring of 2023 before we start to see a resemblance of normal travel in our hospitality industry.”



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Consumer News: More South Carolinians expected to travel for Thanksgiving this year, President Biden calls for investigation into prices at the pump and more


COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– Consumer News with ABC Columbia is brought to you by Grow Financial.

Better be safe than sorry and pack your patience this Thanksgiving, nearly 753,000 South Carolinians are expected to travel this Thanksgiving, according to AAA. That’s a nearly 15% increase from 2020, and only 2% below pre-pandemic levels. More than 53,000 South Carolinians are expected to fly, combined with nearly 678,000 packing up the cars and driving to their destinations.

CNN– President Biden is calling for an investigation into oil and gas companies as he searches for a way to lower gas prices. The president has ordered the Federal Trade Commission to look into whether illegal conduct is pushing up prices at the pump. He did not cite any specific evidence of wrongdoing in his letter to the FTC, but he says prices remain high even though oil and gas companies’ costs are declining.

CNN– Besides just gas, rental cars and even hotels are all now more expensive this month, just as more Americans get ready to head to their Thanksgiving destinations in just seven days. But what does this all mean for your wallet if you’re not paying close attention to those price hikes? Jenn Sullivan takes a closer look at the higher costs and when’s the best time to be hitting the road for all your holiday traveling.

COLUMBIA, CS (WOLO)— Back here at home, those prices at the pump are more than $1.18 more than a year ago. Gas Buddy reports drivers in the Midlands are paying an average of $3.03 per gallon. The cheapest gas you can get in Columbia reaches $2.77, but watch out for the highest soaring prices as much as $3.28 per gallon.





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Busy travel weekend expected at IND, long lines continuing through holidays – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Airport officials are anticipating a busy travel weekend at Indianapolis International Airport following the Bands of America Grand National Championships that brought 39,000 people into Indianapolis. It’s expected that the travel spike will continue through the holidays.

Airport officials are reminding travelers to arrive early, pack smart and plan ahead as TSA anticipates 16,000 people from that band competition to come through Indianapolis International Airport on Sunday alone to travel home. They expect Sunday morning to be the busiest day this weekend.

“I just talked to our Indianapolis team, and the elevated travel volumes have started. So I would say anytime you are traveling now through the holidays you can expect those long lines everyday,” Jessica Mayle with TSA Great Lakes Region said.

Matt Lowe and his daughter were headed to Virginia for a softball tournament.

“I didn’t really know what to expect so we are here, like, way early — like, three hours,” Lowe said.

Not everyone is having such a smooth travel experience. Chrystal Mukendi and her friends were planning to head to Las Vegas on Friday night. They arrived an hour before their flight was scheduled to leave.

“Once I checked in, or was attempting to check my luggage in, I was told that American Airlines system shuts off at a certain point and so it was entirely too late for us to check our luggage in,” Mukendi said.

Friday night, the lines weren’t too bad at the airport — but come Saturday morning, when Mukendi and her friends will be boarding their new flight, that is expected to change.

“I am going to make sure I am here like two to two-and-a-half hours early,” Mukendi said.

“The busy times of day in Indianapolis are 5 to 7 a.m. So definitely if you are getting one of those first flights of the day, you can anticipate having a longer line versus someone who is leaving later in the afternoon,” Mayle said.

Travel has been on the rise nationally since since more people have been getting vaccinated and travel restrictions have been lifted.

Indianapolis is expecting pre-pandemic level travel this holiday season.

“Right now we are seeing travel volumes at Indianapolis at about 95% of those 2019 levels. There are certainly individual days where we are exceeding 2019,” Mayle said.

Because of the rise specifically in leisure travel, TSA is reminding people to arrive early for their flights, wear a mask and double-check the TSA website to make sure you aren’t bringing any prohibited items to ensure the smoothest travel experience possible.

“The best thing that you can do as a passenger to keep that line moving is to not bring anything in your bag that is going to trigger an alarm,” Mayle said.

TSA says that, on average, arriving two hours before your flight is set to take off is enough time at Indianapolis international to have a smooth travel experience.



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Prepare for the traffic: Holiday travel expected to reach pre-pandemic levels


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Thursday marked two weeks until Thanksgiving and for those planning on traveling, get ready for delays.

Holiday travel this season is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels, according to a new survey by AAA.

This Thanksgiving is expected to be the second busiest in Southern California history with an estimated 4.4 million Southern Californians planning to drive at least 50 miles for the holiday—a 16 percent increase from last year’s holiday season.

Meanwhile, more than 53.4 million people are expected to travel nationwide making it the third busiest holiday season compared to 2019 and 2018.

The study also said other forms of transportation like air travel, cruises, buses and trains are expected to see the sharpest usage increases since many people are becoming more comfortable using public transportation again compared to 2019.

AAA expects two of the top five travel destinations this holiday season to be in Southern California.

  1. San Diego
  2. Las Vegas
  3. Grand Canyon
  4. Yosemite
  5. Santa Barbara/Central Coast

When it comes to advice, AAA has a simple tip: Book now.

“We are also strongly recommending that people not wait to book trips in 2022 because there are deals and availability that are being offered now that will go fast,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services.



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53 million expected to travel during holiday season, according to AAA | News


ATLANTA (CBS46) — 53 million people are expected to travel during the holidays this year, according to AAA.

Families here in the U.S. and across the globe are expected to make up for missed time over the last 2 years.

AAA says to plan ahead and despite gas prices inching up more than a dollar since last year, 90% of travelers are expected to drive.

AAA has some tips for travelers:

Book early-morning flights since they are less likely to get delayed or canceled

If driving, leave on Wednesday before noon or early Thursday.

The bottom line is to plan ahead to save on stress later down the road.

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.





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Albany Airport gearing up for expected travel surge this holiday season


COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With the busy holiday travel season rapidly approaching, Albany International Airport is gearing up for the expected surge in passengers. While operations at the airport have surpassed over 80% of pre-pandemic levels, officials are expecting a bump over the holidays.

“We think that during the holiday period, particularly a couple days before Thanksgiving and a couple days before Christmas, we’ll actually exceed 2019 levels,” Philip Calderone, the airport’s CEO, explained.

Last year, just over a million passengers passed through TSA checkpoints the day before Thanksgiving, compared to nearly two million the year before. On Christmas Eve, airports saw a significant difference in passengers passing through checkpoints, with less than a million passengers in 2020 compared to over two million before COVID.

With the expected surge in travelers, TSA officials are encouraging everyone to arrive two hours before their scheduled departure.

“The start of the pandemic, 2020, we went down like 98% with throughput. Literally people would arrive here 10 minutes before their flight took off and they made the flight. You can’t do that anymore,” said Bart Johnson, the airport’s federal security director.

Passengers should also prepare for possible scheduling concerns when taking to the skies. Staffing challenges and supply chain issues have caused mass cancellations and delays across the industry recently, problems that could be exacerbated by the holiday surge in travel.

“Make sure you’re ready to pivot and have alternate plans, just in case that does happen,” Calderone said, when asked about advice for passengers who could find themselves in that situation.

“Just be patient. Make sure that you have in your pocket the email addresses, or website locations, or phone numbers that you can get ahold of somebody to find out, is it going to be rescheduled? How to reschedule?” Johnson added.

Despite the concerns, Calderone says the airport is ready for the busy months ahead, “We’ve had 20 months to get ready. We’ve made sure our airport has all of our employees full staff right now.”

The TSA is also urging passengers to review what they can or cannot bring onto an airplane when they travel this holiday season.

Because of COVID, the TSA has worked to reduce the amount of touchpoints when going through airport security. Johnson says anytime a piece of luggage has a prohibited item, it triggers an alarm and leads to additional touchpoints, something they’re trying to avoid.

While TSA’s 3-1-1 rule is in effect, anyone flying is permitted to carry-on a liquid hand sanitizer bottle up to 12 ounces in size.

Per federal law, masks must continue to be worn at all times inside of airports and aboard planes, regardless of vaccination status.



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AAA Thanksgiving forecast: Travel expected to near pre-pandemic levels. Here’s how to prepare


(CNN) — After hunkering down for the holidays in 2020, far more travelers are expected to be on the move this year.

In the United States, AAA predicts travel for Thanksgiving will rebound to near pre-pandemic levels, with 53.4 million Americans expected to travel for the holiday — a 13% increase from last year.

That brings the total travel volume to just 5% below the 2019 figure. And air travel is expected to be up 80% from last year, bringing it to just 9% below 2019. About 4.2 million travelers are expected to fly this year.

With recent operational meltdowns at Southwest and American Airlines top of mind, plus staffing issues and an uptick in international travel, many air travelers worry that things could get messy.

“Even before the pandemic, reports of major delays, cancellations and stranded passengers were somewhat of a holiday tradition,” said Willis Orlando, senior product operations specialist at airfare deals site Scott’s Cheap Flights.

“This year, folks are understandably more nervous than ever,” Orlando said, with the recent mass flight cancellations giving travelers pause. But he said airlines are making adjustments to head off potential issues.

“While it’s certainly not out of the question, we’d be surprised to see the kind of major failures among non-budget US airlines that we’ve seen over the last few months heading into the holidays,” Orlando said.

The usual delays related to bad weather are more likely, he said.

But while air travel is way up, the vast majority of travelers will still go by car, according to AAA, with 90% — 48.3 million — expected to drive.

With so many people vaccinated, AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross is expecting roads to feel like a typical Thanksgiving: “Crowded. Busy.”

“If you leave Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving and you live near a big metropolitan area, you’re going to be sitting in that old-fashioned traffic again,” Gross told CNN’s Pete Muntean.

And traffic is just the beginning. There are also health issues to wrestle with and the safety of gatherings once you get there. With the holiday travel season nearly upon us, here are expert tips for minimizing hassle and maximizing safety while traveling during a pandemic:

Preparing for holiday flights

Airports will be busy.

“We’re close to pre-pandemic numbers,” AAA’s Gross said. “So we’re telling people, look, you’re going to find lines at the airport. It’s just inevitable. So get there that old-fashioned at least two hours early. And if it’s an international flight, three hours early.”

Holiday travelers pass through Los Angeles International Airport in November of 2020. Air travel is expected to be up 80% for Thanksgiving this year.

Holiday travelers pass through Los Angeles International Airport in November of 2020. Air travel is expected to be up 80% for Thanksgiving this year.

David McNew/Getty Images

The possibility of major disruptions should be a consideration, and AAA recommends travel insurance.

“Get that trip insurance and that airline insurance if you can. That little box you often skip, click it this year because we don’t know what staffing levels are going to be like for the airlines and for TSA,” Gross said.

Insurance coverage can generally be purchased up until the day prior to a traveler’s departure, according to travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth.

Other tips for flying:

— Fly early in the day to avoid the cascading effect of delays and cancellations. Bad weather is also more likely to affect later flights
— Try the airline website or app to get rebooked if your flight is canceled. It’s usually faster, according to Kathleen Bangs, a former airline pilot and spokesperson for FlightAware
— Book nonstop flights offered several times a day on major carriers to up your odds of getting rebooked on the same itinerary in a timely manner, Orlando said
— To be really safe, book a backup flight

“Personally, I often buy two tickets, and the second ticket is kept as a back-up reserve,” said FlightAware’s Bangs.

She makes sure the second flight is refundable or reusable, and that it’s at least two hours later than the first so she has time to make it if the other one is seriously delayed or canceled.

Hitting the road

Gas prices are averaging about $3.42 per gallon this year, Gross noted, which is up about $1.30 from last year and about 80 cents from 2019.

“But as we’ve always discovered, no matter how much gasoline prices are, people are still going to take that trip. They’ll just budget along the way.”

AAA tips for driving:

— Make sure your vehicle is ready. AAA suggests getting key components like the battery, fuel system, tires, brakes and fluid levels checked
— Mornings over the holiday weekend are generally better times to drive. Wednesday’s best time is after 9 p.m., according to transportation analytics firm INRIX. Wednesday’s worst time is between noon and 8 p.m.

Covid-19 health considerations for holiday travel in 2021

For those traveling with unvaccinated people, the agency suggests safer options such as road trips with few stops and direct flights.

Traveling with children who are unvaccinated will be a consideration for many families.

“This risk is not so much the travel itself but what you do at the destination,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst, emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Trips involving visits to crowded indoor attractions and restaurants are higher risk.

“Travel itself can be made very safe, especially if the younger children are able to mask. If they’re unable to mask, that is a major barrier,” said Wen, who is also author of a new book, “Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health.”

If she were traveling only with her 4-year-old son, who is used to masking at preschool, Wen said she would feel very comfortable taking him on a short flight. However, she would not travel on a plane or train with her daughter who is 1 1/2, because she can’t consistently mask.

People should be wearing a high-quality mask — N95, KN95 or KF94 — anytime they’re in crowded indoor settings with people of unknown vaccination status, she said.

Gathering safely when you get there

The vaccination status of everyone else is key when you have unvaccinated children in the mix.

“If you are planning to see relatives who are all vaccinated and be outdoors or around other people known to be vaccinated, that’s much lower risk than if you’re planning to be in indoor crowded spaces with people of unknown vaccination status,” Wen said.

If the gathering involves immunocompromised family members or unvaccinated children, or both, Wen suggests that everyone quarantine for at least three days before getting together and taking a rapid test just prior to seeing each other.

“That would reduce the risk for everyone,” she said. And those eligible for booster shots should get them, Wen advised.

Beyond pandemic health precautions, patience will be essential for holiday travel. Flight delays, cancellations and understaffed restaurants are to be expected right now, said travel adviser Dave Hershberger, president of Prestige Travel Leaders in Cincinnati.

“If you’re a very impatient person, stay home now because you really have to kind of go with the flow.”

Top image: Passengers check in for a Southwest Airlines flight at Los Angeles International Airport ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in 2020. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)



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