Combined With New International Regulations, Airports and Roads May Be Severely Impacted
53 Million Americans are projected to be traveling this Thanksgiving. The estimate brings numbers to within 5% of pre-pandemic levels.
The figure, calculated by AAA Road Group, came with several warnings and advice for those braving the journey to see loved ones.
These figures came as a surprise to some in the industry, as the recent gas price hikes were anticipated to be a factor in many people’s travel decisions. However, pent up COVID-19 frustrations are being attributed to traveler’s decisions to take the signifiant financial hit, with many drivers scaling the length and breadth of the country in the days leading up to the holiday.
The current average gas price in the country is $3.41 per gallon, one of the highest figures in recent years.
Meanwhile, the airline industry is scrambling to find ways to avert any possible meltdown over the long weekend. The new international regulations mean wait times and volume of passengers have increased significantly outside of holiday numbers.
American Airlines had mass cancellations over Halloween this year due to high demand, staffing shortages, and some bad weather. In an effort to avoid this over thanksgiving, the airline offered large bonuses to staff who showed up or offered to work on their usual days off.
Over the course of the weekend, over 900 flights were cancelled in a single day, as well as 900 more in the previous two days, impacting thousands of travelers.
Flight attendants on American are set to pull in 150% of their pay if they turn up for shifts between the 23rd and 29th of November, as well as over Christmas and New Year. They stand to be offered 300% of their pay if they avoid any sick leave between the 15th of November and January 2nd.
The company was dealt a blow however, when bonuses offered to pilots were rejected by the Allied Pilots Association (APA). Both pilots and reserve pilots had been offered similar bonuses to the flight attendants based on working the same weekends.
Another problem looming for all airlines in the vaccine mandate, requiring all federal employees, including TSA agents to have a full dose of a COVID-19 Vaccine before November 24th.
According to the TSA, only around 60% of their workers are fully vaccinated leading to worries that as many as 20,000 people may be unable to work by thanksgiving. Currently, if someone was unvaccinated at this point, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine would be the only vaccine that could be administered in time.
AAA are making several advisories to Thanksgiving travelers.
Pre-planning comes at the top of this list, whether flying or driving. If possible, travelers should leave early. If driving, Wednesday afternoon and evening will be the worst traffic, mainly along interstates approaching and leaving major cities.
They advise arriving at least 2 hours early for domestic flights, and at the latest, 3 hours before an international flight. Travel insurance is highly recommended for flights in the case of cancellation, or delays. Check all regulations surrounding each airline, as well as governmental restrictions, to help ensure the process goes smoothly.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories