Thanksgiving Travel Rush Progresses Smoothly Despite Snowy Forecast

by Michael Nguyen
0 comment

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the surge in travel activity is well underway, with an estimated 2.7 million individuals planning to board flights on Wednesday, along with millions more opting for road trips or train journeys to reach their Thanksgiving gatherings.

Airline officials express confidence in their ability to prevent the kinds of major disruptions that have plagued previous holiday seasons, such as the Southwest Airlines incident during last Christmas. As of mid-day Wednesday, it appears that their preparations are paying off, with U.S. airports reporting only five flight cancellations and 364 flight delays, according to FlightAware, a tracking service.

However, the possibility of snow showers causing traffic disruptions in certain regions still looms. The National Weather Service predicts accumulating snowfall in northern New England on Wednesday, including up to 8 inches (20.3 centimeters) in northern Maine. Additionally, snow is expected in the northern Rocky Mountains on Thanksgiving Day, potentially delivering up to 1 foot of snow to parts of Wyoming by Friday.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) disclosed that it screened more than 2.6 million passengers on Tuesday and anticipates another 2.7 million passengers passing through airport security on Wednesday. Furthermore, on Sunday, TSA expects to screen 2.9 million passengers, potentially surpassing a previous record set on June 30.

At Moynihan Train Hall in New York, lines fluctuated throughout the morning on Wednesday. Some travelers indicated a preference for train travel due to its convenience or lower costs, while others aimed to avoid potential airport chaos.

Matthew Hudnall and Abby Greenbaum, traveling from Atlanta to New York to Boston with their 5-year-old daughter, have opted for a total of nine train rides. Greenbaum noted, “I think we thought it would be calmer and less stressful than flying. So far, that’s true.”

Amtrak advises passengers to expect some boarding delays due to high passenger volumes this weekend.

This Thanksgiving holiday will also serve as a test for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has grappled with air traffic controller shortages at critical facilities, resulting in reduced flights to the New York City area earlier this year.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced during a news conference on Monday that the government has taken steps to prepare for holiday travel, including hiring more air traffic controllers, establishing new air routes along the East Coast, and providing grants to airports for snowplows and deicing equipment.

Airlines have bolstered their workforce by tens of thousands of employees in recent years, and Southwest, in particular, has invested in additional winter equipment to ensure smooth operations even in sub-freezing temperatures.

According to AAA’s forecast, approximately 55.4 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home between Wednesday and Sunday, marking the third-highest Thanksgiving travel volume ever recorded by the auto club. Of these travelers, 49.1 million are expected to drive.

Unlike last year, drivers will benefit from lower gasoline prices, with the nationwide average at $3.28 per gallon on Wednesday, compared to $3.63 a year ago.

While gas prices are not a concern for electric vehicle owners, charging stations are on the minds of those like Guy Maughan, who embarked on a 13-day Thanksgiving road trip from Seattle to Los Angeles and then Phoenix in his Tesla. Maughan, a real estate agent, and his 7-month-old golden doodle, Nala, anticipate spending only around $150 to charge the car during the 3,000-mile journey.

For air travelers, lower prices are also in store. Airfares in October were down 13% from the previous year, and Thanksgiving fares have been approximately 14% lower than a year ago, according to the travel site Hopper.

Nevertheless, the high costs of essentials such as rent, food, and healthcare continue to impact travel plans for many individuals, prompting them to seek ways to mitigate expenses, such as utilizing credit card points to reduce the cost of flights.

Jason McQueary, a 25-year-old social worker and graduate student, exemplifies this trend, using credit card points to slash his roundtrip flight cost from Denver to Chicago from $450 to $150 as he returns home for Thanksgiving.

As the Thanksgiving holiday unfolds, travelers are navigating a combination of factors, from weather-related challenges to financial considerations, in their quest to reunite with loved ones.

You may also like

Leave a Comment


BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News