Thanksgiving travel surges, despite high costs and fear of delays
High costs and ubiquitous logistical headaches aren't slowing down Americans' holiday travel.
Driving the news: Airports and airlines are bracing for crowds and looking to stave off delays as millions of Americans skip town.
- "We have only seen demand grow since the end of August," Hayley Berg, an economist at Hopper Inc., told Axios.
By the numbers: In total, approximately 54.6 million people are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home this Thanksgiving, which is about 98% of pre-pandemic levels, per AAA.
- More than 2 million people per day have passed through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints since last Thursday. TSA said it could screen more than 2.5 million passengers on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
- Airlines, looking to get back on track, have been boosting hiring to avoid disruptions, among other measures.
The big picture: The cost of travel is also up this holiday season — due to soaring demand, less flight capacity and rising jet fuel prices.
- Last-minute air prices are about 40% higher than last-minute prices in 2019 and about 30% higher than last year, per Hopper.
- Gas prices have fallen from a peak this summer, but even the national average of about $3.75 per gallon can still make a long road trip an expensive proposition.
What to watch: Remote work may be giving Americans some leeway to extend their Thanksgiving holiday, Berg said.