Jul 1, 2022 - Things to Do

XNA outpaces national air travel trend

Illustration of a travel postcard with an airplane appearing in the text of a scream.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The number of people going through the TSA checkpoint at Northwest Arkansas National Airport was only 5% lower for June than it was the same time in 2019.

This bucks the national trend, which is down almost 12%, according to data provided to Axios by the airport.

Context: This Independence Day weekend is set to be the second busiest for travel since 2000, with a record number of Americans planning to hit the road, according to AAA's holiday travel forecast.

  • Pro tip: Whether you choose to fly or drive, be prepared to exercise some patience.

Driving the news: Recent floods of flight delays and cancellations will push many people to drive to their holiday weekend destinations this year, Axios' Kelly Tyko reports.

  • Nationally, AAA estimates the share of people traveling by air over the holiday weekend will be its lowest since 2011.
  • Airline staffing shortages, which are already disrupting summer travel plans, could extend well into 2023, Axios' Joann Muller wrote.

If you fly: Andrew Branch, XNA's chief development officer, recommends arriving at the airport two hours early.

  • "You may end up looking at the Auntie Anne's for an hour and a half," he told Axios, but that's better than missing a flight.
  • Thursday was expected to be XNA's busiest day for the weekend, with a projected 3,400 people passing through TSA. About 3,200 are forecast to be at the checkpoint on Sunday.

If you drive: Historically, high gas prices aren't expected to stop Americans from driving over the weekend. For more than 52% of consumers surveyed by The Vacationer, the holiday weekend road trip is still on.

  • As of Thursday, the average price per gallon of gas was $4.41 in Arkansas, 44 cents cheaper than the national average.
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