May 26, 2023 - News

Memorial Day travel forecast isn't pretty

picture of sign at New Orleans airport that tells people where to find the Exit, Bag Claim, Ground Transport, and Gates A,B

Interior of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Travelers kicked off what’s expected to a chaotic summer travel season Thursday, pouring into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

Why it matters: Brace yourself for headaches if you’re doing any kind of travel this weekend, but especially at the airport, where you can expect higher ticket prices, unexpected fees and delays.

  • U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says the holiday will “test the system” for airlines.

The big picture: Overall satisfaction with airlines has declined since the pandemic, according to J.D. Power’s annual study.

  • While airlines have been booking record business, "this golden age of enhanced revenues is coming at the expense of customer satisfaction," the company said in a release.
  • Southwest's customer satisfaction score fell 22 points from 2022, but it was still the highest-ranking airline in the economy segment.

Context: Airlines are still struggling to meet demand that bounced back faster than expected after the pandemic, Axios’ Joann Muller writes.

Be smart: Know what you're getting yourself into before you travel.

  • Major airlines are trimming summertime service despite surging passenger demand, so get your plan B, C or D ready.
  • If you’re traveling internationally and you need a new passport, put in your request very early. Processing can take up to nine weeks, not including mailing time.
  • And if you're looking to park at MSY, remember to check real-time parking information. As of Thursday, the economy garage had the most spaces available.

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