Travellers, get ready for a Memorial Day weekend that will be extremely busy.
According to the most recent data from travel service Hopper, this year’s peak travel weekend will be stressful. The “third busiest Memorial Day weekend” in more than 20 years, according to AAA, is expected to occur.
Most people will use aeroplanes to travel. American airports are anticipated to be crowded from Thursday through Monday. The number of seats available for Memorial Day weekend this year is up 17% from previous year.
According to the Hopper survey, many passengers intend to go internationally this holiday weekend or extend their trips into Tuesday for longer journeys. Low last-minute domestic airfare is another contributing factor.
Unfortunately, this weekend only serves as a prelude to a frantic summer of travel.
As airlines and airports try to manage schedules as we approach the biggest travel season of the year, expect lengthy lineups and possibly interruptions during this first peak summer weekend, Berg continued.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated that recent months have shown an improvement in the on-time performance of airlines.
The Department of Transportation reports that the cancellation rate for the first three months of 2023 was under 2%, which is lower than the 2.7% cancellation rate for the same period in 2018.
And we’re seeing those numbers hold so far in May, said Buttigieg. But the system will be put to the test this weekend.
This weekend, when will airports be busiest?
Three days of this weekend should be avoided because of potential interruptions and lengthy lineups at airport security. Most airports will be crowded in the early morning or late at night.
On Thursday and Friday, the majority of travellers will leave for their weekend getaways. The latter is anticipated to be the biggest travel day, with more than 3.5 million passengers expected to occupy available seats on aircraft.
On Monday, many people are anticipated to fly home for Memorial Day, so expect long lines at the airport.
Which airports will see the most traffic over the Memorial Day holiday?
Hopper analysts predict that this weekend, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will be the busiest airport, particularly in the morning. According to the research, this hub would see a departure of more than 1.1 million passengers.
Los Angeles International Airport, Denver International Airport, and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport are among the other busy airports; each is expected to receive about 700,000 departing passengers.
Buttigieg assured travellers, “If there’s a problem, we’ve got your back,” noting that they could always check the DOT Dashboard on flightrights.gov.
When will this weekend’s peak traffic hours be?
Many travellers will take the roads in order to stay away from busy airports and save money. The number of Americans taking road trips over Memorial Day weekend has increased by nearly 6% from the previous year to about 37.1 million. Drivers should be ready for traffic-related delays during rush hour, especially in and around major urban centres.
“Gas prices are lower this holiday season compared to last year, when the national average was more than $4 a gallon,” stated AAA. “Car travel this holiday season will fall about 500,000 travellers short of pre-pandemic numbers, despite the lower petrol prices at the pump.”
Similar to airports, Friday afternoon will see the greatest amount of traffic as people leave for their destinations. The ideal time to drive is on Thursday and Friday before 1 p.m. and noon, respectively, according to transportation analytics company INRIX. If you can, try to go on a weekend or a holiday for the least amount of traffic.
Plan to leave for home on Monday before 10 a.m. Traffic will increase once it is noon and three o’clock. Drivers may reduce the stress of traffic jams by being aware of when and where congestion will increase, according to INRIX transportation researcher Bob Pishue. “Our recommendation is to avoid driving in rush hour or to take alternate routes.”