The words travel and Thanksgiving are almost synonymous at this point, given that all Americans generally dig the holiday, regardless of religion or creed. Taking a road trip to enjoy some turkey and yams at Aunt Sally's house in Memphis can be a bit of a hassle this year, though, according to AAA, which warns the roads will swarm with roughly 50.9 million Americans over the weekend.
NBC News reports that "AAA is projecting that 50.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3% increase over last year and the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005."
AAA's Bill Sutherland says that the sudden spike in travel stems from a stronger economy and confident labor markets. Could President Trump be the impetus for this?
“A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence, fueling a strong year for the travel industry, which will continue into the holiday season,” said Sutherland.
That's just down on the ground. Up in the air, reports estimate that the airlines will be shuffling 28.5 million Americans across the friendly skies; that's up 3% from last year as well. That means longer lines for security and overall greater tensions at the airport, which are already bogged down due to the strengthened screening procedures for carry-on items. NBC News has more:
The new remove-all-electronics policy was tested at 10 airports during the summer and fall, but that rule is now being enforced at 180 airports nationwide, with more on the way. That means security checkpoint lines in many airport may slow down over the holiday as more passengers are asked to fish out the electronics in their carry-on bags and more congestion (and grousing) in the post-screening “recombobulation” areas as travelers spend extra time repacking their bags.
TSA has taken some precautions to ease the congestion by adding more checkpoint staff and increasing the number of bomb-sniffing dogs. Newly-implemented automatic screening lanes will also help alleviate some of the tension as well, but only 86 of them exist in just nine airports: Atlanta (22), Los Angeles (10), Chicago O’Hare (5), Newark Liberty (17), New York JFK (19), LaGuardia (2), Minneapolis-St. Paul (4), Dallas-Fort Worth (4), and McCarran Las Vegas International Airport (3).
Happy travels this Thanksgiving, Americans.