AAA predicts highest single-year increase in Thanksgiving travel since 2005
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Nov. 9, 2021) – Airports and roads may seem jam-packed this year as AAA predicts 53.4 million Americans (nearly 2.2 million Ohioans) will travel between Wednesday, Nov. 24 and Sunday, Nov. 28 for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020.
This brings travel volumes within 5% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019 (6.5% in Ohio), and marks the fourth highest Thanksgiving travel volume on record. As restrictions continue to lift and consumer confidence builds, AAA urges travelers to be proactive when making their travel plans this holiday season.
“This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday.”
Air Travel Making a Comeback:
Airports will be busy this Thanksgiving. AAA expects air travel to almost completely recover from its dramatic fall during the pandemic, up 80% over last year (81.5% in Ohio).
Airlines are responding to rising demand by increasing schedules and adding more staff, but travelers should still be prepared for delays or cancellations. AAA recommends travelers:
.Work with a knowledgeable travel advisor when booking your trip. They’ll serve as your advocate in case your flight is delayed or canceled, and can help with any last-minute travel plans.
.Look for early morning flights, as they are the least likely to be delayed or canceled.
.Consider flight travel insurance, but read the fine print to understand what it covers.
.Pack all medications, snacks and change of clothes in a carry-on bag.
.Plan on arriving to the airport two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight.
.Check flight status before heading to the airport.
.Know your rights as an air passenger and review your airline’s contract of carriage for information on their policies for flight delays, cancellations and rebooking. By law, travelers are entitled to a refund when an airline cancels their flight.
Road Trips Top Holiday Travel Plans:
Despite gas costing over a dollar more per gallon than this time last year, 90% of American travelers (89% of Ohio travelers) will drive to their destination this Thanksgiving.
With 8.4% more Americans (7.5% more Ohioans) on the roads this Thanksgiving, motorists can expect more traffic congestion, especially heading into the holiday weekend. INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts the heaviest traffic will occur Wednesday afternoon and evening as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Sunday afternoon will also be busy on the roads as travelers return home.
Daily Worst and Best Times to Travel:
Day- Worst Time- Best Time-
Wednesday -12:00 – 8:00PM- After 9:00PM
Thursday – 12:00 – 3:00PM- Before 11:00AM
Friday- 1:00 – 4:00PM- Before 11:00AM
Saturday- 2:00 – 7:00PM- Before 12:00PM
Sunday- 1:00 – 7:00PM- Before 12:00PM