BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Record-high fares and high gas prices appear to be doing little to slow down holiday travel, as many experts predict Thanksgiving travel this weekend will be a record-setter.
Eva Dirr, a student at the University of Montevallo, is right in the middle of it. She’s making the 13-hour trek home to Munich, Germany and is unfazed by the crowds at The Birmingham Shuttlesworth Airport.
”I think it should be fine,” Dirr said. “I’m not too worried.”
Kim Hunt with the Birmingham Airport Authority said the return of travelers is good news for the travel industry, especially after shutting down during the pandemic.
”We’ve had a really strong comeback,” Hunt said. “Back in the pandemic, nobody knew what was going to happen. It was very difficult to predict when or if traffic was going to come back anytime soon. And it has and it’s good to see.”
Clay Ingram with AAA is predicting the travel weekend that begins today will be one for the record books.
”We’re expecting the third busiest travel Thanksgiving holiday travel weekend of all time,” Ingram said. “Starting really today with people hitting the roads and getting on the airplanes and headed out for the weekend.”
Sisters Wanda Washington and Tina Jones are headed to Virginia for the holiday weekend to visit family. Traveling on such a busy day, they made sure to pack patience and a solid travel plan before heading out and advise travelers to get rest the night before, get up early, eat breakfast and get to the airport early.
Hunt agrees that arriving early to allow for hiccups along the way, will definitely reduce some of the stress of this hectic travel day. “I would say get here two hours early before your flight is scheduled to leave, that way you have plenty of time if you get hung up somewhere, and it can happen.”
As busy as today is in terms of travel, the skies and the roadways will be even busier on Sunday as travelers return home in time to make it back to work on Monday.