Associations Project Uptick in Thanksgiving Travel

Whether on the highways or in the sky, travelers will see a surge in traffic during one of the busiest travel weeks of the year. Here’s what associations are saying.

Traveling this week? You know things are going to be busy.

But according to two major industry groups—one focused on the skies, the other on the pavement—you should expect just a little more traffic than usual this year.

Read on for more Thanksgiving-week travel insights.

Airlines planning for Thanksgiving expansion: Global travel on U.S. airlines is expected to surge over the next week, according to Airlines for America. A4A expects 27.3 million global passengers between November 18 and November 29, an increase of 2.5 percent from the prior year, which amounts to 55,000 additional passengers per day. To make up for the increase, airlines are expanding their seat levels at a rate of 74,000 per day by using larger planes and offering more flights. The projection, per The Wall Street Journal, takes into account all major U.S. airlines, even those—like Delta, Spirit Airlines, and Allegiant—that aren’t A4A members.

Expect more automation at airport security checkpoints: In recent months, airlines have teamed with the Transportation Security Administration to put new automated security lanes in at some of the country’s largest airports, Skift reports. Delta started the trend by bringing such automation to the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport earlier this year, and in recent weeks, United and American Airlines have each teamed with the TSA to bring the automated process to Chicago O’Hare International Airport. United is also working to bring automated lanes—which are said to move passengers through at a 30 percent faster clip than traditional airport lanes—to major airports in Newark and Los Angeles before the Thanksgiving rush. Atlanta International also expects to further expand its automated lanes over the next six months.

Roads will be packed this weekend: The American Automobile Association projects that 48.7 million travelers will travel 50 or more miles between Wednesday, November 23, and Sunday, November 27, which amounts to an increase of nearly 2 percent over 2015. AAA projects that more than 89 percent of U.S. travelers this holiday will set out on the highways, with growth in road travel (1.9 percent) outpacing air travel (1.6 percent). The association’s president and CEO, Marshall Doney, credits gas prices, which are at the lowest Thanksgiving-season level since 2008, for the uptick.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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