Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – More than two-and-a-half million people will board planes the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but are airlines ready for the holiday rush?
The number of people flying each day has been at or near pre-pandemic levels for some time now. In fact, Triple-A says this Thanksgiving will be one of the busiest for travel in more than two decades.
There are questions as to whether the airlines can handle the rush this holiday travel season, especially after the mass delays and cancelations in the Spring and Summer. Even though almost as many people are flying as in 2019, the airlines have cut routes because of the shortage of pilots and other key staff like mechanics and flight attendants.
That smaller supply, combined with strong demand, and high jet fuel prices, means you’re paying a lot more to travel this turkey day. The travel booking app Hopper says domestic airfare is up about 8% from last year.
The average cost of a round trip in the US is around $380 dollars. Hotels are a lot more expensive as well, up some 15% from a year ago. But the travelers we’ve talked to at the airport today say they don’t mind shelling out big money to get out.
“It takes saving some miles, pre-planning, and trying to find the most cost-effective flights. It’s a little bit different, tougher this year.”
“Usually before it’s like 200-something, but now is like six, seven, $800 dollars.”
Hopper says if you’re looking to save money on flights and hotels, the best time to buy this time of year is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. They call it “Travel Deal Tuesday” and say you can save as much as $300 dollars on your trip.