The year-end holiday season will see a record number of 7.5 million people flying from December 23 to January 1, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). This is the highest figure since AAA began tracking the data in 2000. It also exceeds the previous record of 7.3 million that was achieved in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic.
The forecast shows the ongoing recovery of the US air travel industry, which faced a severe downturn in 2020 due to travel restrictions and health concerns. AAA reports that the daily number of passengers screened by US airport security reached a record 2.907 million during the Thanksgiving travel period, indicating a strong demand for air travel.
However, the rise in air travel may not have a significant effect on the country’s jet fuel consumption, as airlines have been using larger and more efficient airplanes to lower fuel costs and emissions. Data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) indicates that implied jet fuel demand fell by as much as 100,000 barrels per day in early December, the biggest weekly drop since June.
On the other hand, road travel is also expected to increase during the year-end holiday season, with nearly 104 million drivers hitting the road. This is an increase of 3.4% from 2019, and the second highest number ever recorded by AAA. In total, AAA estimates that 115 million people will travel during the holiday season, either by air, road, or other modes of transportation.
AAA advises travelers to plan ahead, check travel restrictions, and follow health guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. AAA also offers a variety of travel resources, such as online booking, trip planning, and roadside assistance. For more information, visit AAA.com.
What Makes More People Fly During the Holidays
One of the factors that makes more people fly during the holidays is the availability of low-cost airfares. AAA states that the average round-trip ticket price for the top 10 US destinations is $204, which is 11% lower than last year. Some of the most popular destinations include Orlando, Florida; Anaheim, California; and Honolulu, Hawaii.
Another factor is the convenience and comfort of flying. Many travelers prefer to avoid the hassle and stress of driving long distances, especially in winter weather conditions. Flying also allows them to save time and enjoy more of their vacation. Moreover, many airlines have improved their customer service and safety measures, such as offering flexible booking options, enhanced cleaning protocols, and mask requirements.
How to Make the Most of Your Holiday Travel Experience
If you are planning to fly during the holidays, here are some tips to make the most of your travel experience:
- Book early and compare prices. The best time to book your flight is at least 21 days in advance, according to AAA. You can also use online tools, such as Bing Travel, to compare prices and find the best deals.
- Pack light and smart. To avoid extra fees and delays, pack only the essentials and follow the airline’s baggage policy. You can also use a carry-on bag or a backpack to store your valuables and personal items. Make sure to check the TSA website for the latest security rules and regulations.
- Arrive early and check-in online. To avoid long lines and last-minute problems, arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight. You can also check-in online or use a mobile app to get your boarding pass and seat assignment. Don’t forget to bring your ID and confirmation number.
- Stay hydrated and healthy. Flying can dehydrate your body and lower your immunity, so drink plenty of water and eat nutritious snacks. You can also bring your own reusable water bottle and fill it up at the airport. To prevent the spread of germs, wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer, and wear a mask.
- Relax and have fun. Flying during the holidays can be stressful, but it can also be an exciting and memorable experience. Try to relax and enjoy the journey, whether it’s by reading a book, listening to music, or watching a movie. You can also chat with your fellow passengers, make new friends, or learn something new. Remember, the destination is not the only part of your trip, the journey is too.