The day before Thanksgiving is often the most-traveled day of the year, and despite higher prices and soggy conditions, 2011 looks to be no exception.
According to AAA, an estimated 42.5 million Americans will take to the air, roads and rails, journeying more than 50 miles to reach their Thanksgiving destinations. That’s the highest number of holiday travelers since the start of the recession, despite an across-the-board rise in travel costs.
In the Air: Packed Planes, Crowded Airports
The Air Transportation Association expects 3.4 million airline passengers this holiday weekend, many of whom have shelled out 20 percent more for their airfares. And there won’t be many empty middle seats to stretch out on this holiday – more than 87 percent of commercial airliners are flying at capacity.
Where are the nation’s busiest hubs this year? Los Angeles’ LAX, Chicago’s O’Hare, and Orlando International. Fliers looking to beat the crowds are choosing alternate airports like San Jose International, John Wayne/Orange County and Maui’s Kahului Airport.
On the Road: Higher Fuel Costs
AAA anticipates that 90 percent of Thanksgiving travelers are taking to the highways, undeterred by the 60-cent per gallon price increase at the pump. Across the country, the average cost per gallon of gas is $3.43. Prices are not expected to climb.
At Home: More Per Plate
How are the Thanksgiving dinner hosts faring? According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, a 16-pound turkey and all the trimmings will cost 13 percent more than last year’s feast.
The lesson for Thanksgiving 2011 is that time spent with the ones we love far outweighs fuel prices, flight delays and stormy weather. Visiting with family and friends across the miles, giving thanks for all we have, is worth the challenges we may encounter in getting there. So this year, whether you are braving costs and crowds to trek to a faraway holiday table or enjoying a meal in the comforts of your own home, all of us at Angel MedFlight are hoping your holiday is filled with warmth, love and happiness.