What to Expect From Labor Day Travel
According to two transportation industry groups, Labor Day travel is going to be pretty busy. Airlines for America says that its members are boosting seat levels to accommodate travelers, while AAA says that cheap gas will help put vehicles on the road.
Traveling this Labor Day weekend? Expect a whole lot of competition at the airport and on the highway.
Based on Airlines for America (A4A) statistics released earlier this month, Labor Day week—designated by the group as falling between August 31 and September 6 this year—will see 2.23 million passengers per day, an increase of more than 82,000 passengers per day (4 percent) from the prior year.
According to an infographic released by the group, airlines are adding 98,000 seats daily to accommodate for the extra traffic. In a news release, A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich cited lower ticket prices as a factor.
“On the heels of this summer’s record volumes and falling ticket prices, A4A anticipates a commensurate increase in the number of flyers for the Labor Day period,” Heimlich stated. “U.S. airlines are well positioned to meet the growing demand for air travel and are responding by increasing the number of seats available by 4 percent.”
Gas Prices Rising, But Still Cheap
On the roadways, AAA anticipates a similar state of affairs, thanks to low gas prices overall. But those gas prices, for the first time in a while, appear to be on a bit of an upswing, jumping to $2.22 per gallon, an increase of 8 cents from a month ago.
That isn’t likely to slow down Labor Day travelers, however—especially since just two years ago Americans were paying upwards of a dollar more per gallon.
“Despite the increase, drivers are paying 27 cents less than they did at this same time last year and are on track to pay the lowest Labor Day gas prices since 2004,” AAA Manager of Public Relations Tamra Johnson wrote in a news release on Monday.
Johnson notes that, according a recent AAA survey, the lower gas prices mean that 55 percent of Americans are more likely to take a road trip this year, and those consumers are likely to gobble up 400 million gallons of gasoline per day this Labor Day weekend.
If you’re looking to save money at the pump during your travels, you’ll find the cheapest prices in the southern and eastern U.S., with South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi currently averaging below $2 per gallon.