Americans aren’t letting inflation interrupt their Thanksgiving
New York: The Thanksgiving travel rush was back on this year, as people caught planes in numbers not seen in years, setting aside inflation concerns to reunite with loved ones and enjoy some normalcy after two holiday seasons marked by COVID restrictions.
Changing habits around work and play, however, might spread out the crowds and reduce the usual amount of holiday travel stress. Experts say many people will start holiday trips early or return home later than normal because they will spend a few days working remotely — or at least tell the boss they’re working remotely.
The busiest travel days during Thanksgiving week are usually Tuesday, Wednesday and the Sunday after the holiday. “Of course, it’s a stressful and expensive time to fly,” said Chris Williams, 44, who works in finance. “But after a couple of years of not getting to spend Thanksgiving with our extended family, I’d say we’re feeling thankful that the world’s gotten to a safe enough place where we can be with loved ones again.”
The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2.6 million travelers on Monday, surpassing the 2.5 million screened the Monday before Thanksgiving in 2019. The same trend occurred Sunday, marking the first year that the number of people catching planes on Thanksgiving week surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
AAA predicts that 54.6 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home in the U.S. this week, a 1.5 per cent bump over Thanksgiving last year and only 2% less than in 2019. The auto club and insurance seller says nearly 49 million of those will travel by car, and 4.5 million will fly between Wednesday and Sunday.
U.S. airlines struggled to keep up as the number of passengers surged this year.
Moreover, people getting behind the wheel or boarding a plane don’t seem fazed by higher gasoline and airfare prices than last year or the widespread concern about inflation and the economy. That is already leading to predictions of strong travel over Christmas and New Year’s.