Airlines are facing the biggest holiday weekend for travelers in three years—returning to pre-pandemic levels of travel and stability.
- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reports that it is expecting 2 million to 2.5 million travelers per day this week for the Thanksgiving holiday, surpassing two years of slower airline travel.
- The large crowds began as early as Thursday, November 17, with 2 million daily travelers, and the TSA expects it to peak on Sunday, November 27 with as many as 2.9 million potential flyers.
- Recent trends in remote work are changing the length and availability of travelers during the holidays, allowing employees to take their work with them and enjoy longer holidays with family.
Why it’s News
Airlines always prepare for major travel days around holidays like Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but 2022 is the first year since the beginning of the pandemic that those numbers are starting to reach previous heights.
This also comes after a sluggish summer for airlines, with business travel decreasing. This wasn’t reflected in leisure travel though, with the TSA reporting a record-setting Labor Day weekend of 8.76 million flyers, the highest since 8.62 million in September 2019.
“Flights are packed. Airport parking lots are filling up. Tickets are expensive. In short, Thanksgiving travel is getting back to normal, for better or worse,” says The Wall Street Journal.
As we previously reported, high inflation and demand have seen a 33% increase in airfares this year.
The proliferation of remote work has had a major effect on the duration of the holiday season, with thousands of workers arriving days or weeks to their destinations before they need to and working remotely through the holiday. Airlines have adjusted holiday periods to help their employees.
“This year, people are getting to their destinations earlier and staying later, elongating the holiday travel period, executives at Denver-based budget airline Frontier Group Holdings Inc. told analysts and investors last week. ‘A lot of people are just kind of taking that week to work from wherever they’re working from,’ Frontier Chief Executive Barry Biffle said at the company’s November 15 investor day,” says The Wall Street Journal.