(MENAFN) Despite concerns over inflation and potential weather disruptions, record numbers of travelers are anticipated to hit airports and highways during the Thanksgiving break. The busiest travel days are projected to be Tuesday, Wednesday, and the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects to screen 2.6 million passengers on Tuesday and 2.7 million passengers on Wednesday. Sunday is predicted to draw the largest crowds with an estimated 2.9 million passengers, potentially setting a new record.
AAA forecasts that 55.4 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home between the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterward, with Wednesday likely to experience the highest congestion on roads. The weather may pose challenges, as a storm system is expected to move from the southern Plains to the Northeast on Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing severe thunderstorms, gusty winds, and possible snow.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg highlighted the government's efforts to enhance holiday travel preparations, including hiring more air traffic controllers, opening new air routes along the East Coast, and providing grants to airports for snowplows and deicing equipment. Buttigieg urged travelers to check road conditions and flight times due to the unpredictability of weather conditions.
Despite potential disruptions, there is positive news for travelers in terms of costs. Airfares are averaging USD268 per ticket, reflecting a 14 percent decrease from the previous year. Gasoline prices have also dropped by about 45 cents per gallon compared to the same period last year, with the national average at USD3.30 per gallon on Monday. A GasBuddy survey indicates that despite cheaper pump prices, the number of people planning long driving trips this Thanksgiving has not significantly changed from last year. Analysts note that while inflation has eased, certain expenses such as food are still rising, and consumers are adjusting spending patterns, charging more on credit cards and saving less.
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