‘It’s almost like the Roaring Twenties after the 1918 flu’: This Thanksgiving, people are traveling as if it’s 2019 ~ Nov. 22, 2022

Families and friends are eager to spend time together this Thanksgiving, one of the busiest for travel in the past two decades,’ AAA said.

Get ready for long lines at the airport and traffic jams galore — just like old times.

Airports and roads may be “jam-packed” this year, according to the American Automobile Association. It estimates that 53.6 million people will travel for the Thanksgiving weekend, reaching 98% of pre-pandemic Thanksgiving travel.

“Families and friends are eager to spend time together this Thanksgiving, one of the busiest for travel in the past two decades,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Plan ahead and pack your patience, whether you’re driving or flying.”

Last summer’s “revenge travel” does not appear to have abated. “Expect crowds during your trip and at your destination,” Twidale said. “If your schedule is flexible, consider off-peak travel times during the holiday rush.”

‘It’s almost like the Roaring Twenties after the 1918 flu.’— Charles Lindsey, associate professor at the University at Buffalo

Like last year, most travelers will drive to see family and friends. Nearly 49 million people are predicted to travel by automobile. Overall Thanksgiving road trips are up 0.4% from 2021, but car travel still remains 2.5% shy of 2019 levels.

Air travel is up nearly 8% over last year, AAA said, with 4.5 million people flying for their Thanksgiving turkey this year. That’s approximately 330,000 travelers more than 2021, and nearly 99% of the 2019 volume.

Delta Air Lines DAL, said it expects to carry nearly 6 million customers from Nov. 18-29, averaging close to 500,000 customers per day, while American Airlines AAL, +0.94% anticipates serving 6.8 million customers over Thanksgiving weekend.

But economic uncertainty lingers. Tech companies are laying off staff. Federal Reserve surveys suggest people are dipping into their savings, and the drumbeat of recession continues as inflation reached 7.7% in October.

Food prices were up 10.9% year over year in October, and the 30-year mortgage rate hovers near 7%, and the stock market has taken a beating, with tech stocks like Meta META, +1.44%, Google GOOG, +1.57% and Microsoft MSFT, +1.23% particularly badly hit.

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