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This summer’s travel crowds are expected to be record-setting

Henry Epp May 22, 2023
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Travelers wait in long lines to speak with airline ticket agents in the United terminal at San Francisco International Airport. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

This summer’s travel crowds are expected to be record-setting

Henry Epp May 22, 2023
Heard on:
Travelers wait in long lines to speak with airline ticket agents in the United terminal at San Francisco International Airport. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

We’re just a few days away from the start of the summer travel season over Memorial Day weekend – and it looks like it’ll be a busy one.

AAA expects over 42 million Americans will make a trip of 50 miles or more, close to the record level set the year before the pandemic started.

That means things could get especially busy at airports. Expect long lines if you’re headed to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport over the holiday weekend, said spokesperson Perry Cooper.

“We are one of the smallest airports by footprint in the country. So we are already having challenges with space and wait times,” he said.

Cooper said passengers should get there a few hours early. The same goes for pretty much every big airport, as AAA expects passenger numbers to exceed Memorial Day weekend records set in 2019.

Airlines should be better prepared to meet demand than they were last summer. They’ve staffed up but also cut back on flights, said AAA’s Paula Twidale.

“So you’re going to have flights that are full, probably less selection and higher prices,” she said.

Despite those prices, people are still eager to spend on travel, said industry analyst Henry Harteveldt with the Atmosphere Research Group.

“What we know is that people have this sense of FOMO,” he said. “They don’t want to miss out on things.”

They’re choosing to take that big trip now, Harteveldt said because who knows what the future holds.

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