Exclusive WBEN Audio
On the WBEN Liveline
Steve Pacer, AAA of Central & WNY
Slightly more Americans will hit the road this Thanksgiving, according to AAA. That includes people who are choosing to drive instead of fly as household budgets remain tight.
AAA predicts 43.6 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home over the holiday, up just 0.7 percent from last year. The number of travelers forecast to drive, fly or hop on a train or bus this holiday is still 26 percent below the peak in 2005 and 14 percent below 2007.
DELAYS ACROSS THE NATION From Flight View.com
See also: Arrivals & Departures at Buffalo
On the WBEN Liveline: Brett O'Neill, TSA in Buffalo
Americans can expect airports to be busier and planes to be fuller than ever, according to a forecast by the main trade association. And fares are already more expensive than a year ago.
This year's uptick is in line with "the sluggish but consistent economic recovery," aviation consultant Mark Kiefer says.
The unemployment rate has improved in recent months, as has consumer confidence - two key indicators of travel demand.
For those traveling on the busiest days around Thanksgiving, planes are expected to be close to 90 percent full.
That would be a record for the holiday. That forecast is an average, so expect most flights at peak hours to be completely full.
Thanksgiving travelers who have yet to rent a car in the Northeast are out of luck: Superstorm Sandy has created a shortage.
The storm has damaged thousands of cars - including those owned by rental companies. The loss of vehicles has been compounded by rising demand. Thanksgiving and Christmas are normally busy rental periods. And lingering mass transit problems caused by Sandy have added to demand.
Existing reservations are mostly being honored, but people who still want to book for Thanksgiving are finding almost no cars left. The few cars available carry a hefty premium.
To help ease the shortage, car rental companies have driven in thousands of extra vehicles from elsewhere in the country. They have also kept older models that they would normally sell to used-car dealers.
|Feeling the pinch of the sluggish economic recovery, many Americans setting out on the nation's annual Thanksgiving migration had to sacrifice summer vacations, rely on relatives for airfare or scour the Web for travel deals to ensure they made it home|