AAA: Big­gest Thanks­giv­ing travel rush in 9 years on tap

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - MARKETPLACE - By David Koenig AP Air­lines Writer

DAL­LAS >> The slowly im­prov­ing econ­omy could boost travel over the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day to lev­els not seen in nine years.

AAA fore­casts that 48.7 mil­lion Amer­i­cans will travel, the busiest Thanks­giv­ing pe­riod on U.S. roads and skies since 2007, the year be­fore the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis plunged the U.S. econ­omy into a deep re­ces­sion.

The auto club AAA said Tues­day that it ex­pects 1 mil­lion more Amer­i­cans to ven­ture at least 50 miles from home, a 1.9 per­cent in­crease over last year.

The fore­cast was as­sem­bled at re­search firm IHS, which said it con­sid­ered jobs, house­hold net worth, the stock mar­ket, prices for gaso­line and air­line tick­ets, and other fac­tors.

The re­searchers did their num­ber crunch­ing in midOc­to­ber, about three weeks be­fore the sur­pris­ing out­come in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

The AAA fore­cast pre­dicts that from Wed­nes­day, Nov. 23, through Sun­day, Nov. 27, about 43.5 mil­lion Amer­i­cans will take long car trips, 1.9 per­cent more than last year. AAA ex­pects 3.7 mil­lion will travel by air, a 1.6 per­cent in­crease. Bus and train trips will grow less than 1 per­cent, the auto group said.

An air­line-in­dus­try trade group is a bit more bullish. Air­lines for Amer­ica pre­dicts that air travel will rise 2.5 per­cent over last year’s hol­i­day, al­though the group con­sid­ers Thanks­giv­ing travel span­ning a 12-day pe­riod that be­gins Nov. 18.

Air travel tips

Planes are likely to be packed over the hol­i­day, and bad weather or air­line com­puter mal­func­tions can slow things to a crawl. If the un­ex­pected hap­pens, be ready to re­act quickly.

• Ar­rive early. At some air­ports, in­clud­ing Dal­las Fort Worth In­ter­na­tional and Dal­las Love Field, garages and other fa­cil­i­ties are un­der con­struc­tion, mak­ing mat­ters worse.

• Pack smart. Don’t put any­thing you re­ally need — medicine, pass­port, other im­por­tant pa­pers — in your rol­laboard bag; or re­mem­ber to re­move it if the air­line or­ders you to gate check your bag, which hap­pens when flights are full and bins are over­stuffed.

• Cus­tomer as­sis­tance. If your flight is can­celed, get in line to talk to an air­line cus­tomer rep but call the air­line too. You might have bet­ter luck reach­ing an over­seas num­ber — look up the num­bers be­fore your trip.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Trav­el­ers line up at a se­cu­rity check­point area in Ter­mi­nal 3 at O’Hare In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Chicago on Nov. 29, 2015. The auto club AAA said Tues­day that it ex­pects 1 mil­lion more Amer­i­cans to ven­ture at least 50 miles from home, a 1.9 per­cent in­crease over last year.

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