BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Thanksgiving travel rush is in full swing. This time of the year is one of the busiest times for airports across the country. AAA says travel is up by 13% this year compared to 2020.
With COVID restrictions lifted, more people are traveling to be with their loved ones.
“Here for all the holidays and we have a lot of December birthdays as well,” said Vuga Parpura, who is back in Alabama for the holidays.
Parpura says travelers should be prepared for long lines.
“Oh, the plane was full, it was full. Which in COVID, you’re not used to that crowd, but the plane was packed,” said Parpura.
“Add some extra time there because those security lines are going to be long. It’s going to take some time to get to your gate from the time you arrive at the airport,” said Clay Ingram with AAA Alabama.
It’s a similar situation for those hitting the roadways. Ingram says to pack your patience as the heaviest traffic will be on Wednesday and Sunday.
“So if you can travel at any other time other than those days, you’ll face less traffic you’ll be much better off, it will be less stressful as well. But anyone that is hitting the road, we do suggest getting your car checked out ahead of time by a certified technician,” said Ingram.
Despite national gas prices up to an average of $3.41 a gallon, it’s not slowing down travelers from spending the holidays with family.
“Having a slight increase in that is not a deal-breaker for most people. Most folks will find another way to cut back a little bit,” said Ingram.
“It’s beautiful that this country has a holiday just for being thankful, which I’m not always good at practicing in my daily life, so it’s nice to have a dedicated holiday to remember what you’re grateful for,” said Parpura.
Ingram says he believes the travel numbers will continue to spike as we head into Christmas and New Years. Airports and roadways will be similar to pre-pandemic levels so travelers should be prepared for long lines and traffic again.