Posted by: jwtarr | November 18, 2008

Travelers change their Thanksgiving plans

AAA reports that there will be 7.2% fewer travelers taking flights this Thanksgiving holiday.

AAA reports that there will be 7.2% fewer travelers taking flights this Thanksgiving holiday.

As I sifted through the news this morning I came across an interesting story on USA Today which talks about how people are changing their travel plans this year.  AAA is predicting a decline in Thanksgiving travel because of “tough economic conditions.”  But don’t too get too excited for lighter traffic just yet.  AAA says the majority of those travelers will still make the trip to their families’ home for Thanksgiving dinner.  Here is what Robert Darbelnet, AAA President and Chief Executive, says about the decisions travelers are facing this year.

“It’s the tug of war between the purse strings and the heart strings. . .the heart strings win out . . . Grandma matters.”

AAA says 41 million people are planning to travel by car, plane, bus or train.  That’s 1.4% less than last year and the first drop since 2002.

Here are some other interesting statistics:

  • Air travel is expected to drop by 7.2%
  • 5.8% more travelers plan to go by cheaper options such as train or bus
  • Travel by car will drop just 1.2%, meaning the roadways will still be busy.

AAA says the reason it’s not seeing a more drastic decline in the number of travelers is because gas prices have dropped substantially.  The average gas price nationally was $2.07- the lowest since 2005.


Air travel is expected to be more expensive this year- by some AAA estimates as much as 8% higher.   President Bush is hoping to alleviate the travel delays for those travelers who do decide to take to the skies.  He unveiled his plan to open new flight routes during Thanksgiving and to raise fees on airlines that lose luggage.

And if you have a couple extra minutes. . .take a look at this interactive map on the cutbacks on air travel at many of the major national airports.  You have the ability to look at different airports and the amount of flights taking off during the holiday season.


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