Thanksgiving travel this year could strain people's wallets — and patience

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  3 weeks ago  •  27 comments

By:   Krystal Hur

Thanksgiving travel this year could strain people's wallets — and patience
Thanksgiving travel is bouncing back this year — and so are expectations for holiday travel chaos on the roads, rails and in the air.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Thanksgiving travel is bouncing back this year — and so are expectations for holiday travel chaos on the roads, rails and in the air.

With rising Covid-19 vaccination rates and the reopening of U.S. borders to vaccinated foreign travelers, the travel industry is bracing for the upcoming holiday rush.

In its holiday travel forecast, AAA said this week it expects more than 53.4 million people to travel between the period Nov. 24 to Nov. 28, up 13 percent from 2020 levels.

The Transportation Security Administration said it is already screening between 1.9 and 2.2 million people daily, and a looming Nov. 22 deadline for the agency's workers to be vaccinated has sparked concern about a possible worker shortage and longer security lines during the holiday.A spokeswoman for the TSA told NBC News that it is focused on getting employees vaccinated by the deadline.

Spiking gas prices aren't deterring travelers this year, either. Around 48 million people will take to the roads this Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA. At around $3.40, the average price at the pump this week is the highest since 2014, said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

Car rental prices also remain high, after a shortage of crucial semiconductor chips led to a dramatic slowdown in the production of new vehicles during the pandemic, exacerbated by rental companies culling their fleets last year during the pandemic's travel lull. Dailycar rental prices currently average around $84, according to a spokeswoman from travel site Hopper.

This means that travelers should adjust how they make bookings for the holiday season, said Michael Taylor, travel practice lead at JD Power. While travelers typically book a hotel room before looking for a rental car and flight, they should reverse that order, he said, especially in popular holiday destinations like Orlando and Las Vegas where rental cars are costlier and in higher demand.

"This is going to be an expensive holiday for some folks," Taylor said.

Camille Jones, a clinical social worker in Birmingham, Alabama, plans to fly to Orlando with her husband and two-month-old baby to spend the holidays with her in-laws. While the family considered driving to Orlando, renting a car would have cost them about $590. The two roundtrip plane tickets they ended up purchasing totaled $530.

To further cut costs, the family bought tickets to fly to Orlando from Atlanta rather than Birmingham, saving them around $240. Jones said the two-hour drive to Atlanta is worth it, especially since they frequently visit family there. She and her husband plan to arrive at the airport two hours before their flight, especially since they have a baby in tow.

"We've never traveled with a baby, so I know we're going to slow it down a bit," Jones said.

Travelers should consider purchasing travel insurance or using travel credit cards with built-in insurance, said Sara Rathner, travel and credit card expert at Nerdwallet. She added that travelers should also look into cashing in airline or hotel credits from canceled 2020 travel.

Last month, Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights, costing the company $75 million and impacting tens of thousands of passengers. The company has since announced it has trimmed its flight schedule to better reflect staffing levels. More recently, American Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights over Halloween weekend, citing staff shortages and inclement weather.

Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing American Airlines pilots, said the airline's record of slow recovery after flight changes could pose problems during the upcoming holiday rush, especially if there is bad weather. Further complicating the problem, holiday travel occurs toward the end of the month, when pilots and flight attendants are close to maxing out their contract hours.

David Seymour, American's chief operating officer, said in a note to staff on Nov. 5 that 1,800 flight attendants returned to operations this month and the airline plans to add 800 more in December. Seymour also said employees will receive holiday pay on peak travel days in November and December, and he expects 4,000 new staff members to join this quarter.

Weary travelers should be prepared for shuttered stores and restaurants at the airport, Taylor said. Labor shortages and inflation continue to plague the hospitality industry, meaning any stores and kiosks that are open will have higher prices, fewer options and longer lines.

Delaware North Travel, a New York-based hospitality company that operates food and retail concessions at airports, closed down some of its locations during the pandemic and cut back on hours due to labor shortages. The hospitality company's operating hours are based on the number of passengers boarding each day and when certain gates are used, which means customers sometimes face longer lines.

To combat inflationary pressures, Delaware North Travel increased prices on some of its menu items and re-engineered some items, said Bob Wilson, Delaware North Travel's president. For example, a meal with eight chicken wings now features boneless wings, and some fresh food options were turned into grab-and-gos. Some portion sizes have been reduced.

Despite the anticipated hurdles, many travelers are planning a packed schedule.

Sarah Goldstrom, who works in the film industry, plans to fly on Thanksgiving Day from Philadelphia to Greenville, South Carolina, with a layover in Atlanta to spend the evening with family. After filling up on turkey, she plans on flying to New York to attend a Harry Styles concert before returning home to Atlanta.

"Thanksgiving's kind of chaotic anyways," she said.


Tags

jrDiscussion - desc
[]
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1  Kavika     3 weeks ago

I will be traveling from the kitchen to the patio to BBQ. 

The weather forecast for Thanksgiving is 79 and partly sunny. 

Wild Turkey, straight up will be the drink of the day.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @1    3 weeks ago

road trip. my BIL in texas makes a mouth watering prime rib. he gets marinated and I get baked. that's our tradition.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2  sandy-2021492    3 weeks ago

I'll be driving, and mostly on lightly-traveled mountain roads.  As long as it doesn't snow in the WV mountains, my travel should go pretty smoothly.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1  devangelical  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2    3 weeks ago

from my Colorado driving perspective... LOL

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.1.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  devangelical @2.1    3 weeks ago

My sis and I drove to Estes Park a few years ago.  It took us a while to figure out what snow fences were.  And on June 1st, snowplows had finally been able to meet on a mountain pass through Rocky Mountain National Park, but cars weren't allowed through yet.

But - I lived in the WV mountains for a while.  Four to five-foot snow drifts were not uncommon.  So it's not like Colorado, but it can get pretty dicey, sometimes.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.2  devangelical  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1.1    3 weeks ago

with a lack of trees at timberline, you get blizzard fences. trail ridge road. highest highway in north america. open about 3 months per year.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.1.3  sandy-2021492  replied to  devangelical @2.1.2    3 weeks ago

We have the occasional snow fence in WV, but they're plastic mesh and don't look much like the ones we saw in Colorado.  Some neighbors in WV put a snow fence up on their property for the reason you mentioned.  We were above the treeline, so there was no windbreak to stop drifts.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.1.4  Ender  replied to  devangelical @2.1.2    3 weeks ago

We have sand fences. Don't really work but we have them.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
2.2  charger 383  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2    3 weeks ago

I went to Hawk's Nest, WV for Thanksgiving only once.  After that trip I would only go back there between April and October 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.2.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  charger 383 @2.2    3 weeks ago

I lived at the top of the Lost River State Park Road.  One time my ex's truck just about got stuck in a drift that was up to the mirrors of his F-250.  We were several hundred yards from the house.  It would have been a long, cold night, fighting through drifts up to my head trying to get the rest of the way.  Good thing we had 4WD and plenty of power.

Hawk's Nest is a beautiful area.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.2.2  Ender  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.2.1    3 weeks ago

That must be a pain to get to work sometimes.

Sounds like it would be worth it once up there though.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.2.3  sandy-2021492  replied to  Ender @2.2.2    3 weeks ago

There were days I couldn't make it, but the clinic where I worked shut down, because nobody could make it there, including patients.  No sense risking our lives to sit in an empty office and do nothing.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.2.4  Ender  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.2.3    3 weeks ago

I use to be able to drive in the snow. Don't know if I could do it now.

I remember my father use to put chains on the tires. I think that is illegal now.

People around here cannot even drive in the rain.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.2.5  devangelical  replied to  Ender @2.2.4    3 weeks ago

I text my mom pictures of vehicles with texas plates off the road and usually upside down.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.2.6  sandy-2021492  replied to  devangelical @2.2.5    3 weeks ago

My sis is in Wisconsin for the winter, working as a travel PA.  Her coworkers tease her about needing to learn to drive in the snow.  She told them she's used to the snow, but in Wisconsin, she won't have to contend with snow and mountains like back home.  People tend to forget that yes, WV is in the south, but gets enough snow to have several ski resorts.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.2.7  devangelical  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.2.6    3 weeks ago

driving in the ice and snow is easy, just slow down. what's dangerous is avoiding those that can't grasp basic physics principles.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.2.8  sandy-2021492  replied to  devangelical @2.2.7    3 weeks ago

Slow and smooth.  No sudden starts, stops, or sharp turns.  Inertia is a thing, and it's a bigger thing on slick roads.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.2.9  devangelical  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.2.8    3 weeks ago

I travel thru texas a lot during the holidays. if they happen to get a snow or ice storm, the results are usually hilarious. I got stopped in roswell new mexico one year by the troopers because they had one inch of snow on the highway. I had CO plates, all wheel drive, and mud and snow tires on. despite my expressed logic and reason, it apparently wasn't good enough to get by their road block on the highway out or town.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
3  Paula Bartholomew    3 weeks ago

I am staying home and having a turkey sandwich with my cats.  Even if I were invited somewhere, I would not go.  The few that might invite me over are anti mask and anti vax.  It is just not worth taking a chance even though I am fully vaccinated plus one booster.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.1  Ender  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @3    3 weeks ago

Same here. Staying at home and maybe add a natural medication to my list...Haha

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4  Ender    3 weeks ago

I wonder of come January we will see a spike in covid cases.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
4.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  Ender @4    3 weeks ago

Seven-day average is already going up slightly in Virginia.  I assume it's likely due to the change in weather - it's getting colder and rainier, and we're starting to stay inside more.  Pretty typical for respiratory viruses to spread more in the winter.  I imagine coronavirus will behave the same.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
4.2  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Ender @4    3 weeks ago

Of course we will.  It is as people are just saying fuck it and will channel their inner Eric Cartmans with  "I'll do what I want!"

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
4.2.1  devangelical  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @4.2    3 weeks ago

thanksgiving dinner is split on both sides of the family this year because of anti-vax thumper morons. I'm hoping for a few more covid mutations before GOP rally season starts late next spring.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
4.2.2  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  devangelical @4.2.1    3 weeks ago

I just don't understand how some cities are allowing large gatherings again during a pandemic.  Would life cease if there wasn't a Macy's TG parade again this year?

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4.2.3  Ender  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @4.2.2    3 weeks ago

Sports arena, concerts... People mashed together.

Not me, I still wear my mask going to any store.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
4.2.4  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Ender @4.2.3    3 weeks ago

So do I even though it makes it hard for me to breathe sometimes.

 
 
Loading...
Loading...

Who is online


Nowhere Man


35 visitors