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High Costs And Delays Aren't Slowing Down Americans' Holiday Travel Plans

Daniel Plainview

Updated: November 23, 2022

americans holiday travel
Editor’s Note:

EDITOR'S NOTE: Americans’ holiday travel plans are now 98% of pre-pandemic levels. This is somewhat good news, as it reflects the impact of declining fuel prices, fewer labor disruptions, and the positive effects of the remote work economy. Plus, Americans are flocking to restaurants this Thanksgiving, which, if you think about it, can save people some money or its equivalent in time. Although we’re far from finding our way out of the woods, economically speaking, it’s a holiday, so let’s celebrate whatever semblance of normalcy we can enjoy today. Let’s save the gloomy forecast for the following weeks, and let’s hope that Santa Claus can at least make it to the party. 

High costs and ubiquitous logistical headaches aren't slowing down Americans' holiday travel.

Driving the news: Airports and airlines are bracing for crowds and looking to stave off delays as millions of Americans skip town.

  • "We have only seen demand grow since the end of August," Hayley Berg, an economist at Hopper Inc., told Axios.

By the numbers: In total, approximately 54.6 million people are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home this Thanksgiving, which is about 98% of pre-pandemic levels, per AAA.

  • More than 2 million people per day have passed through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints since last Thursday. TSA said it could screen more than 2.5 million passengers on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Context: Air travel has been marred by widespread delays and cancellations, largely driven by staffing shortages.

The big picture: The cost of travel is also up this holiday season — due to soaring demand, less flight capacity and rising jet fuel prices.

  • Last-minute air prices are about 40% higher than last-minute prices in 2019 and about 30% higher than last year, per Hopper.
  • Gas prices have fallen from a peak this summer, but even the national average of about $3.75 per gallon can still make a long road trip an expensive proposition.

What to watch: Remote work may be giving Americans some leeway to extend their Thanksgiving holiday, Berg said.

Go deeper... Americans are flocking to restaurants this Thanksgiving

Originally published on Axios.

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