‘Tis the Season for Travel Meltdowns

Busy airport
Busy airport | Image by Marius Dobilas/Shutterstock

‘Tis the season for gatherings, merriment, and… travel meltdowns.

A record number of travelers are expected this year over the Thanksgiving break, with loved ones venturing on highways and airways to reach their destinations.

An estimated 84% of Americans plan to travel for the holidays this year, with a recent survey showing most say, “[T]he joy of spending time with friends and family outweighs the challenges of travel,” as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts around 55.4 million Americans will be traveling the week of Thanksgiving, with approximately 49.1 million traveling by automobile and 4.7 million by air, as covered by The Dallas Express.

November 21, 22, and 26 are considered the busiest days to fly, with the Transportation Security Administration expecting to screen 2.6 million, 2.7 million, and 2.9 million passengers, respectively, on these days, according to the Associated Press.

On the plus side, Hopper, an online travel marketplace, reported that the cost of a flight is down 14% from last year, averaging $268 per ticket.

“Commercial airlines are often busiest around the Thanksgiving and winter holidays, and with increasing demand for air travel, longer security wait times could present a major challenge for passengers,” said Alex Miller, CEO and founder of Upgraded Points, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. “Knowing what to expect at TSA checkpoints will help travelers coordinate transportation, minimize disruptions, and even avoid missing flights.”

Dallas Love Field expects to serve more than half a million passengers between November 16 and November 28, an increase of 15-20% over last year, as reported by The Dallas Express.

If you choose to drive, plan on November 22 being the most traffic-congested, with an anticipated 80% longer than the average travel time expected in some metropolitan areas.

“Travelers should be prepared for long delays, especially in and around major metros,” Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst at INRIX, told AAA.

The good news for drivers is as of November 21, the average cost for a gallon of regular gas in Texas is $2.769, down from last year’s $2.995 per gallon and a decrease from the $3.295 national average, per AAA.

As a friendly reminder, don’t be a turkey and drive under the influence. The Texas Department of Transportation is asking for drivers to help keep the roads safe for everyone.

“Don’t turn your holiday event into a life-changing tragedy by drinking and driving,” said TxDOT executive director Marc Williams. “A safe and sober ride should be at the top of your list when making plans with family and friends. If not, you risk your job, your life, and the lives of others. It’s just not worth it.”

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