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Record-Breaking Travel Expected This Holiday Season: Airports and Roads Brace for Busy Weekend

As the holiday season approaches, millions of Americans are taking to the skies and roads to visit loved ones, with a record-breaking 2.9 million passengers expected to pass through airport security on Sunday. According to FlightAware, a flight tracking service, US airports are reporting only five flight cancellations and 364 flight delays, a marked improvement from previous holiday seasons. However, snow showers are expected to hit parts of the country, particularly in northern New England and the Rocky Mountains, potentially snarling traffic and air travel.

Airline officials are confident that they can avoid the kind of massive disruptions that have marred past holiday seasons, such as the meltdown at Southwest Airlines over last Christmas. Delta Air Lines is advising passengers to arrive at the airport at least two hours before their flight if traveling within the US, and three hours early if flying overseas. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is also preparing for a surge in passengers, with plans to screen over 2.7 million passengers on Wednesday alone.

For some travelers, taking the train is a more appealing option, citing convenience, lower prices, and a desire to avoid the chaos at airports. Amtrak says passengers may experience some boarding delays due to high passenger volumes, but overall, the rail company is well-prepared for the holiday rush.

US airports

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is also gearing up for the holiday season, having hired more air traffic controllers, opened new air routes along the East Coast, and provided grants to airports for snowplows and de-icing equipment. Airlines have also added tens of thousands of employees in the last couple of years, and Southwest says it has acquired more winter equipment to keep planes moving during sub-freezing temperatures.

For those driving, traffic may be a concern, especially in areas hit by snow. However, AAA reports that petrol prices are down, with the nationwide average hovering around 3.28 US dollars a gallon, a decrease from last year’s price. Electric vehicle owners, like Guy Maughan, who is going on a 13-day Thanksgiving road trip in his Tesla, are reaping the benefits of lower petrol prices and charging station convenience.

The outlook for airfares is also looking positive, with prices down 13% from last year, according to government figures. Jason McQueary, a 25-year-old social worker and graduate student, is grateful for his credit card points, which brought down the cost of his roundtrip flight from Denver to Chicago from 450 to 150 US dollars.

As the holiday season gets underway, millions of Americans will be weighing the concerns of travel against the joy of spending time with family and friends. With airline officials and transportation agencies working to ensure a smooth and efficient travel experience, travelers can breathe a sigh of relief and focus on the festivities ahead.

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